It has been a while since we’ve done a Stable Talk blog as our regular A&A bloggers Panda and Mia, have abandoned their posts in the office and decided to join us on the road going to EA and ARC events. No doubt some of you would have seen the A&A Customer Relations pooches at our trade stalls handing out free kisses and generally trying to schmooze everyone. They take their customer relations roles very seriously.
At our recent ARC event hosted by the Kyneton & District Adult Riding Club at Lancefield, we met an inspirational young rider, Abigail Vidler from Woodlands. Panda fell instantly in love with Abigail and we were delighted when Abigail and Cheerio placed first in both tests and won Level 5 Overall Champion. In honour of their amazing partnership, our first Stable Talk of 2018 will feature the very cheeky and distinguished Cheerio, an amazing pony who is owned by Lyndsay Davies, one of the coaches at RDA Oaklands, and who brings endless joy to RDA riders.
The amazing duo, Abigail and Cheerio at the Kyneton & District ARC MAD Dressage Series
Stable name: Cheerio
Human: Lyndsay Davies but loved by many at RDA Oaklands
Breeding: Presumed Welsh cross
Cheerio, Lyndsay and Abigail getting tips from inspirational Olympic paraequestrian Emma Booth
How long have you been with your human, Lyndsay, and where did she find you? Can you tell us much about your life before you met Lyndsay or do you prefer not to dwell on the past?
Lyndsay got me from Billabong ranch in July 2013. They had bought me the day before at Echuca sales. One of Lyndsay’s friends saw me go through the sales and persuaded Kerri at Billabong to sell me to Lyndsay, so the next day, she came and picked me up.
I was an amazing show horse in my younger days. I won at Melbourne Royal Show! I lived on a big estate with a nice family and many other horses. As the years went on the children left home and no one came to ride me anymore. One day we were all loaded into a truck, I heard someone say that the property had to be sold and me and the other horses were to be sent to the sales.
What special traits do you have that you think makes you a good RDA pony?
I am very strong, patient and experienced. I know how much my riders can do and I will only go as fast as they can cope with. I am also really good at understanding them when they first start riding, so even though their aids aren’t very clear, I still know what they are trying to get me to do.
What do you enjoy most about your job at RDA Oaklands?
Meeting all different people and helping them, I love showing people and the other horses what I can do, the odd carrot is very much appreciated too!
We believe one of your favourites RDA riders might be a young lady by the name of Abigail Vidler. Tell us a bit about Abby. How long have you been riding together? What do you like most about her?
Abby is awesome, we have a really special bond. I have been teaching Abby the ropes for a couple of years now. She was a bit wobbly at first but now I have trained her into an amazing rider. It was me that taught her the canter, you know, she was only trotting when we first met. Once she was good at the canter I decided she should learn how to jump. It’s my favourite thing so I knew she would love it too! At our first ever show, I tried to persuade her to go and join the hunters who were competing in the next ring. They were galloping over jumps. I really thought Abby would have so much more fun in that event, so we left the dressage arena to go and join them. Unfortunately Abby slipped off en route, Oops! We came last in that one. Abby’s Mum wasn’t too happy with me so I haven’t done that again.
Congratulations on your recent success with Abigail at the recent MAD Dressage Series event at Lancefield. Are more competitions with Abigail on your agenda?
Thank you, yes that was so much fun! Abby and I are off to TTT Combined Training at Lancefield on 17-18 March 2018.
As a wise and experienced pony of 27 years of age, do you have any advice for Abby, or for any horses she may ride in the future, to help her achieve her riding goals?
Just keeping trying, even when things get hard. You’ve got to always give it your best! Let others help you on your way and don’t lose who you are, stay as kind and amazing.
What other things do you like doing with RDA riders?
I really like taking to riders out on trail rides, especially when we go for a splash in the dam or over to the park.
We see you often get referred to by RDA personnel as “Cheeky Cheerio”. Why do you think you have earned this nickname? Do you have any “cheeky” habits or traits?
Hmm, well maybe… I have been known to take Lyndsay for a gallop up the hill even when she didn’t want me to gallop. I take other riders for a gallop too but only if I know they can stay on. It’s so much fun I want them to have fun too. When Abby gets up on the mounting ramp I stand there until she’s ready to get on and then move my bottom away. Haha! She does get a bit fed up with me though if I do it too much! If the humans get chatting too much (which they often do!) I will give them a cheeky nudge with my nose to tell them to get on with it.
Every day you help humans overcome physical, emotional or learning disabilities. Yet you have some health issues yourself that you don’t seem to let hold you back! What is your secret to staying so active?
Keep going, that’s what you have to do. I have aches and pains but they get worse if I just stand around, so it’s good to keep working. I wouldn’t look as good as I do now if I didn’t work out every day!
Tell us about the other RDA Oaklands horses? What are they like to live with and do you all get along? Do you have any horse besties?
They are okay… they need to be put in their place every now and again. That little pony Champ, he really is a naughty little fellow! I live next to Doris, she’s 21! Doris is a beautiful black dressage horse, she is pretty impressive. We often go to shows together and I miss her when she’s not around but we do argue with each other over the fence at dinner time!
Many thanks to Fiona Orr, Lyndsay Davies and the awesome team at RDA Oaklands, as well as Abigail, for helping Cheerio with his Stable Talk interview. RDA Oaklands is a voluntary not-for-profit organisation which has been operating for thirty years providing horse riding experiences for disabled people in a safe and pleasant environment, encouraging physical activity and social interaction. They run an amazing program which enables people with disability to experience enjoyment, challenge and sense of achievement through participation in equestrian activities. RDA Oaklands is always looking for new volunteers. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.