So I believe I still owe you guys this one. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can read Part #1 here.
My first few years in Ireland we lived in a fantastic apartment in the city centre. But both Chris and myself were dreaming of a house in the country with a little bit of land so we could have our own horses. In May 2014 that dream became reality and we moved to our new home in county Meath with seven acres of land and an old cowshed. Many long days of hard work with great help of friends and family have turned that shed into an American style barn and a tack room… and work is still ongoing. Here’s a little snippet to give you an idea.
Last winter the stables were finally advanced enough to be able to go on the horse hunt. Chris was lucky very quickly and bought a fantastic 5 year old Irish hunter named Henry. My process was a bit slower and with a few disappointments on the way. But hey this dream has been over two decades in the waiting so what’s a few months right?! Right – except that I was getting more and more pregnant. Haha yep you read that right. Cause who in their right mind would go horse shopping with a growing bump?! Yes – me!!! I figured if I wait until the baby is here then it’s never gonna happen because they are a lot more work when they’re born.
I tried a good few horses all over the country but either they weren’t quite right for me or they failed the vet (or both). I was getting increasingly frustrated as I felt time was running out and I my horse just wasn’t out there. But then luckily I travelled down to Kilkenny to Carol Gee – the owner of Fernhill Sport Horses. She is a good friend of the family and one of the best dealers in Ireland. And it was there I finally found my perfect horse.
I had met her chief rider Fraser at a wedding in August 2014 and I told him we’d soon be looking for horses. His wife (both are friends of ours) said: Nicole we have the perfect horse for you. A beautiful, tall Palomino with paces to die for. But we weren’t ready for horses yet so I put him out of my mind. A little later that year my mother in law Clare went over to Carol for lunch and sent me pictures of said Palomino saying – “I found a horse for you. You can take him on loan, ride him and if you don’t like him just bring him back.” But I didn’t want that because a) I was done riding other people’s horse – I wanted my own (stamping my feet like a five year old) and b) I figured given the general standard of Carol’s horses I probably couldn’t afford him, meaning I’d fall in love with him and then would have to return him. So I kept looking elsewhere. But anytime I was talking to Clare she kept mentioning the Palomino.
In April Chris and I (now 5 months pregnant) went down to Carol. She said she had a few possibilities for me to look at and talked me through the horses Fraser was gonna show me finishing with the words: “and then I’m gonna show you the Palomino because Clare keeps mentioning him”. They brought him out and as I sat on him I knew this was it. As soon as he started moving he just lifted himself up and was floating like a dressage stallion. I jumped two little jumps (shhhh don’t tell anyone) and he didn’t rush it, stayed nice and straight, which is just what I need as jumping isn’t my forte. Then Chris rode him and jumped him properly. He felt too, that this was the horse for me. I didn’t dare to ask for the price but we did and he was only a little bit over budget. So after a little haggling with myself I decided to go for it. The day he was vetted I was beyond nervous and when I got the call that he had passed I was dancing around the ward at work. And so it came that on the May Bank holiday 2015 we once again drove down to Kilkenny and came back up with my Bananaman.