Hello, my name is Piper Lou, but on the rides I am more commonly known as Lula. I was born in 1999 and my main purpose in life has been to be a driving pony. In 2011 Barrow Farm received a donation from the Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Trade Benevolent Fund to buy a new horse or pony. I was lucky enough to be that chosen pony.
I am a black cob with a white stripe down my face and one white sock. Unlike most of the other cobs at Barrow Farm I get to keep all my hair, so the yard staff and volunteers have to spend a lot of time brushing my lovely long mane and my feathers.
I enjoy going out in the field, especially with my friend Macie. I love a good roll in the mud and because I am black I clean up rather well. I like my food and I do like to make a bit of noise if it doesn’t arrive fast enough, I always worry that they will forget to feed me, they never do.
When I first arrived I was not very fit and had to get used to my new home. I then started my RDA training to be a ridden pony, my training went well and I was soon a regular on the rides. Whilst I was starting my riding work, Anne found me some driving tack to fit. The first part of preparing a pony to become a RDA driving pony is getting to know that pony, so initially Anne spent time just getting to know me. Firstly Anne lunged and long reined me and soon found that I was happier in blinkers than without. Then I was put in the cart and Anne started to drive me, down the lane and around the block. During this time I was continuing to improve on the RDA lessons. Learning to patiently stand still was really important for both driving and ridden work.
The next stage of my driving training was to learn to pull the bigger of Barrow Farm’s two carts. This bigger cart can accommodate a wheelchair and is therefore very useful to the group. To get the wheelchair into the cart ramps are attached to the back of the cart. These are stored under the cart when not in use and make quite a lot of noise to get out and put away. This meant there were quite a few days when a team of people just spent time ensuring I was happy to stand still whilst the ramps were unloaded set up, a wheelchair put into the cart and the ramps put away again. It never really occurred to me to move but apparently they have to make sure that I am absolutely happy with all the noise.
Whilst all this driving training was going on I had become a really useful riding pony and I was starting to do more riders that needed alternative mounting arrangements. I was, therefore, trained to use the hoist meaning I can have riders that find mounting difficult. In 2012 Isobel took me in the in-hand cob class at the Braintree Riding Club show and I won my class, it is not too often that I get any red rosettes but it just goes to show my versatility.
Most of my driving work is done in the summer (it is a bit difficult to pull the cart in the mud and the drivers do not like getting cold and wet). I work with both Anne and Stephen (a volunteer driving coach). I am looking forward to getting my four wheeled cart this year – Anne promises me it will not be harder to pull but will give my drivers a much better time.
I am not just a driving pony though I also do dressage! It started with Clare taking me out to make sure I did not get too excited at shows, then I went to the regional championships at Oaklands College for the first time in 2013. I have done the Countryside Challenge (and I am not like that Tawny, you don’t catch me trying to eat the grass or the apples). And I have also done dressage. In 2015 Emma and I qualified for the National Championships in Gloucestershire. It is a long journey but that is OK as they gave me lots to eat and Fergus and Tawny came too. In preparation for the big event we went to Cambridge College to do an Intro to Para dressage class so when the big day came and Emma rode me in the big arena at Hartpury College I did not put a foot wrong. In fact in the freestyle everybody seemed very pleased with the colour of my rosette.
If you would like to adopt me, please go to the Adopt a Pony page.