RICHARD Telford is a professional show producer and rider based in Haddington, in East Lothian.
From the original three horses we are following for this feature, Howick Patrician was sold shortly after the first feature to a professional producer in the south to contest large riding horse classes. The other two horses are working well and have been backed and ridden away.
On the day of our visit the horses were coming back into work having had a few weeks off while Richard concentrated on the three native ponies he qualified for the Olympia ridden mountain and moorland championships in London before Christmas and then enjoyed a holiday.
There was still a lot of snow lying on the ground and the riding arena was covered in snow. Richard decided to long rein the horses up the fields and tracks rather than venture out onto the nearby roads.
"Both horses have been doing a lot of lunging and long reining in the arena. They've both been backed and ridden away," said Richard.
"Usually once a horse has been long reined, after they are backed and start hacking they will be quite happy as they are used to going away on their own.
"Long reining is good to get them forward and going by themselves."
Kilmannan Diamond is a rising five-year-old Suffolk Punch mare, owned and bred by Bill Ireland, who is one of Richard's longest supporters, having won at HOYS and Olympia with Bill's home-bred Dales ponies.
Having seen ridden Suffolk Punches at Suffolk Show, Bill was keen for his own to be ridden as well as promote the recognised rare breed.
"Diamond has been very easy, she's very laid back– almost too much," said Richard. "She has started hacking out, it's made such a different and is becoming more forward."
A heavy horse horse is taking place in Northumberland in May and this is sometghing that Richard feels Diamond would be ready for. There's ridden and in-hand classes for all heavy horse breeds, which the organisers hope will become an annual event.
Diamond appears very broad but Richard says that the same saddle is used on Diamond that fits Bill's Dales ponies.
The dun mare KiKi is Richard's own horse, and is rising five years, although being born in September is a late foal. She is by a palomino warmblood stallion Richard bought in Poland and out of a Kingsford show pony mare. KiKi had limited work prior to Richard starting breaking her.
She has had wolf teeth removed and Richard felt she needed a little time off. Now back in work after a fortnight off, Kiki had been clipped and has now been shod with plates in front.
"She's came on quickly and I'm really pleased with her, I'd like to think she'll get to the Grand Slam show in April for a novice class," added Richard.
"I like to work the horses five days out of seven," explained Richard.
"They all go out in the paddock for an hour or two each day, it keeps them more relaxed and settled.
"Steven Renton has been putting a lot of work into Diamond and Alana Wilson and Gina Walker have also been helpful to help back the ponies that have started coming in," added Richard.
By Melanie Scott
Photographs: Rob Haining