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Summer arrived at Barrow Farm RDA in August 2019 and quickly made friends with the other mares. Following concerns about her general fitness we had her tested and were very surprised to find out she was in foal. She was returned to where she came from with an agreed opportunity to buy her back. Summer gave birth to a healthy foal in December 2019. In May 2020 after her foal was weaned, with support from The QBE Foundation we bought her back.
We had always thought that Summer might make a really good driving pony. After we bought her back we sent her to Mike Daniel’s yard in Suffolk to begin her training as a driving pony. The team there were really impressed with her and thought she was a delight to work with. After 6 weeks of driving training, she returned to Barrow Farm to continue her training to be both an RDA riding and driving pony. In the beginning driving mainly consists of going out and seeing more things, this was obviously made much more complicated by social distancing as only one person could be in the carriage. Until late August 2020 her riding training was also delayed as we were unable to do any side-walker and prop training. Once we were allowed to get closer to each other wearing masks Summer continued her RDA training as a riding pony, which she had begun the short time she spent with us the previous year.
Since August 2020 her training progressed well. She is a very good girl and all the yard staff love riding her. She got her own new leather saddle in November once she had developed muscle in the right places and was unlikely to change shape again. The plan was that she would begin doing her first RDA rides this January 2021. Unfortunately, that was not to be as we entered a new lockdown.
At the end of May 2021, after many months of training Summer passed her RDA carriage driving assessment with flying colours. Summer has been trained for wheelchair loading and is now regularly working with several different drivers.
Summer lives in a herd with Millie, Penny and Vella. It is Vella who is definitely Summer’s favourite. Having spent the summer living out at night, all of the mares came in during October when the fields became waterlogged. Summer has very hairy legs and one of the things she has had to learn to do is to stand still whilst her legs are trimmed.
Summer has got a very happy disposition and we are looking forward to seeing how well she does as an RDA pony in both of her roles.