Meet The Team
Highdale Hallmark (Ted)
Mary’s pride and joy, Ted has been at CFH since he was (age), and was backed by Mary herself. Working at Advanced Medium, Ted is used for the occasional staff lesson, but his main purpose is as a demo horse - he does love to show off! Fun fact: Ted and Desi are actually half-siblings - Mary bought them from the same breeder, so they share a dad!
Nicknames: Teduardo, Eduardo, Tedward
Born and raised at CFH, Desi was bred by Mary from her mare, Celica, in 2000. A true schoolmaster, Desi has put many a rider through their paces, and despite being in her twenties now, is still ticking along as well as ever. When she was old enough, Lou was lucky enough to have Desi as her own, but when she left for university, Desi went back into the school once again. Fun fact: Mary actually intended to have her daughter at the same time as Desi was born to keep her busy during maternity leave, but ended up having Lou a year later!
Nicknames: Des, Desmondo, Mondo, Mondonian, Desi-de-mondo
Rescued by the Blue Cross, Cloud came to us, and was re-backed and ridden away by the team. A firm yard favourite, Cloud is made of sugar, spice and everything nice! Used in the school as both a jump and flatwork horse, Cloud is also one of Mary’s favourites, and can often be found having a cuddle at the end of one of Mary’s lessons. Fun fact: Cloud’s full name is actually Cloudberry!
Nicknames: ‘Little Cloud’, Cloudy
Breed: Gypsy Cob
Alfie arrived as a working livery in February 2020, and went through a lot of work with Lou and Mary during the first lockdown; this was Alfie’s first time away from home, but over time, he really settled in at the yard, and is now well and truly a part of the furniture. Alfie loves to jump, and will hopefully bloom into a lovely confidence giving jump horse. Fun fact: Alfie is very vocal - even if his whinnying does sound a bit girly!
Nicknames: Alf, Alfonzo, Fonzo, Fonz
Breed: Welsh Section D x Andalusian
Murphy is the cob to prove that cobs truly can; jumping, lateral work - you name it, he can do it! Although Murphy is mainly driven by his stomach (like any true cob), he does enjoy a bit of adrenaline now again - especially if there are fences up! Fun fact: Because he’s secretly a softie at heart, Murphy is often used for our RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) groups!
Nicknames: Murph, Smurf, Murfles, Murpheen
Owned by our honorary yard mum, Dawn, Stan was a fulfilment of her lifetime dream to own a horse. Although he took some time to settle in at first, the team poured their love and time into Stan, and he’s now developed into the gentleman we always knew him to be. He might not be a novice ride just yet, but he has a cracking jump, and we suspect he’ll go very far indeed! Fun fact: Whenever Stan sees Dawn, he pushes his bum right up to the door until she’ll give him bum scratches!
Nicknames: Stanley, ‘Stan the Man’
Breed: Welsh Section D
Officially the biggest horse on the yard at 18hh, Molly is the true definition of a gentle giant, and is ridden by everyone from beginners to our most advanced riders. Another secret talent, Molly is actually very much a ‘dressage diva’, and her lateral work can be excellent - and not only that, but she jumps, too! Fun fact: Molly is one of two horses on the yard currently able to do piaffe - and the other one is Ted!
Nicknames: Moll, Molly Moo, Mollbo
The other of our resident shires, Bess is also a gentle giant, and is again used for every level of rider. While unexpected, Bess actually very much enjoys cross-country in the fields - but she doesn’t half go! Like all of our horses, she gets a variety of work, from lateral work, to jumping and hacking out. Fun fact: Every year, Bess and Molly take part in the CFH ‘Shire Grand National’ - a race from the bottom of the haylage fields, all the way to the top!
Nicknames: Bessie, Bubbles, Bubbs
Cassian came to us in 2017, after a client of Mary’s put us in contact with his former owner; once pegged for high-level dressage, Cassian had to stop competing due to a small issue with his hocks, and eventually found his way to us. After helping to rehab his injury, Lou fell in love with him, and he became the second of her two horses. A dressage diva in every sense, Cassian has beautiful paces - and is also known for putting riders through theirs! Fun fact: Cassian was originally called ‘Kevin’, and although some say it’s bad luck to rename a horse, Lou argued a horse that pretty needed a name to match!
Nicknames: Cass, Cassabella, ‘Drama Queen’
Breed: Lipizzaner x Welsh Section D
At 17.1hh, Morse just misses out on being the third of our gentle giants - but also because he’s not a Shire! Sold to us by a client of Mary’s, Morse is a gentleman through and through; caring, sweet and well-schooled, he always aims to please. While a star flatwork horse, he also jumps very well, and is an all-round favourite with an ever-growing fan club. Fun fact: Although he does hack out on occasion, Morse is terrified by a bright green car that parks up the road from the yard, and seems convinced it’s going to eat him!
Nicknames: Smorse, Morse the Horse, Morsicles
Breed: Appaloosa x Andalusian
To put it simply, Tia is CFH’s resident jumping machine! While we do ensure her work is varied, Tia lives to jump, and makes frequent appearances in all of our showjumping competitions and Stage 2 exams. When the ground is good, she’s also a great confidence giver with cross-country, and will jump almost anything you put in front of her. Fun fact: Tia’s full name is actually ‘Tia Maria’, as her coat is the same colour as the liqueur!
Breed: Irish Sports Horse
A beautiful bright bay mare, Phoebe is often the first horse people see when driving onto the yard. Being a very eager jumper, taking Phoebe around a jump course is an adrenaline rush you can’t beat, but on the flat, she’s quiet and steady, and like all of our horses, does her fair share of lateral work. Fun fact: Phoebe is actually owned by our local saddle fitter, Claire, and came to us after Claire couldn’t bear to sell her on!
Nicknames: Pheebs, Phoebus
Breed: Welsh Section D x Warmblood
One of our working liveries, Oakley joined us in September 2021 as a 5 year-old much in need of some TLC - he’d had a bit of a rocky start in life, but within a few months of being here, he really started to blossom. He’s got fantastic back legs and a lovely nature, so we can’t wait to see what he brings to the team! Fun fact: Oakley’s owner is called Sharon - and so is Finn’s!
Nicknames: Oaks, Oakles
Breed: Thoroughbred X
Picture your typical traditional cob, with a long mane and fluffy feathers - and that’s Finn! At only 13.1hh, he’s a pint-sized pleasure, though there’s a good dose of personality in that little body. After a long search that took us all the way to Devon, Finn came to us in the summer of 2021 and is owned by a lovely lady, Sharon. Fun fact: when he arrived, Finn’s original name was ‘Spook’, but we thought that was tempting fate with a future school horse!
Nicknames: Finnegan, Finlay
Breed: traditional cob
And then there’s the baby of the family! At only two years old when we bought him in 2021, Diego was found while we were looking for Finn - and he was so lovely that Mary just couldn’t say no. We plan to let him grow and be a horse until at least 4 until he starts any proper work. After all, you can’t rush perfection. Fun fact: Diego gets his name from his first owner - an avid football fan, who named him after Diego Maradonna…
Another of her favourites, Mary often jokes that if Polly were 16hh instead of 12.2hh, she’d ride her in a heartbeat! A Thoroughbred trapped in a pony’s body, Polly is an elegant mover, and works beautifully both in-hand and on the lunge. Soft and gentle, she’s very cuddly once you get to know her, and often features in care lessons, because she’s just so good to handle. Fun fact: Despite being so sweet, Polly is very much in charge in the pony field and can often be found putting Sam in his place!
Nicknames: Poll, Pollyanna, ‘Little Polly’
Breed: Welsh Section A
One of our working liveries, Saracen is owned by the lovely Rod, who originally bought him for his granddaughters to ride. After his loaner outgrew him, she came to us for lessons and brought Saracen along with her! A great little jump horse, Saracen may be in his twenties, but he’s still always raring to go. He’s also as good as gold on the flat, as well as an excellent hacking horse. Fun fact: Everything Saracen has is very ‘matchy matchy’, so it’s not uncommon to see him sporting matching boots and numnah!
Nicknames: Saz, Sazza, ‘Sir Saz’
Breed: Welsh Section D
A long-time resident of CFH, Annie has been here for as long as anyone can remember! Although used for everyone from the RDA to our advanced riders, Annie is also one of the best hacking horses on the yard - alone or in company, many an hour has been passed with Annie hacking around the village! Another member of our ‘cobs can’ group, Annie’s in-hand and lateral work are both very good. Fun fact: Even though we shouldn’t have favourites, Lou happily admits that Annie is one of hers!
Nicknames: Annabelle, Annabella, Bella
Patch: What can we say about Patch! Patch was bought by Mary in 2012 as Lou’s first ‘proper pony’, and after she outgrew him, he took his rightful place in the school, and has been here ever since. Cheekiness personified, Patch is safe as houses, but has been known to test both children and staff! The favourite of many a child, Patch’s fan club is wide and also happens to include most of the team. Fun fact: When out competing, Patch once pulled all the buttons off of Lou’s jacket, left the dressage arena twice, and ate the flowers on the judge’s box - all in one test!
Nicknames: Patchington, Patchington Chardonnay, Patchy
Breed: Gypsy Cob
He may be little, but what he lacks in height, he more than makes up for in character! The yard’s smallest pony, Sam has taught possibly hundreds of children to ride, and is well-loved by every member of the team. Loveable, cuddly and extremely cute, Sam is the perfect schoolmaster in miniature. Fun fact: Sam’s favourite game is to pull his own bridle off if left unsupervised for any longer than 2 minutes!
Nicknames: Samuel, Spam, Spamuel, Spamwell
Breed: Welsh Section B
Aptly named, Snowy is every child’s dream pony - very sweet-natured and absolutely beautiful. She’s been at CFH for a very long time. Being so small, she tends to only be used for beginners or young children, but we keep her entertained with a mix of lunging, loose jumping and hacking in-hand. Fun fact: Snowy and Sam are like an old married couple - never happy when they’re together, and never happy when they’re apart!
Nicknames: Snow, Snow-Jo, Jo, Snowbell
Breed: Welsh Section A
A legend in her own lunch time, Sherrie is everything you could ask for: a confidence giver with just enough challenge to give even the most skilled of riders a push. Like many others, Sherrie is used for the RDA and lessons of all levels, but especially loves polework and any other exciting exercises. Fun fact: Sherrie is a skilled escape artist, and has been known to let herself out of the stable on many occasions!
Nicknames: Shez, Shezza, Shezzabelle, Shezzabella
On permanent loan to us from the Blue Cross, Misty is the favourite of both young riders and small adults alike. As well as being a lovely pony to ride on the flat, Misty loves to jump and often enjoys loose jumping sessions with the staff. Fun fact: While most horses have brown eyes, Misty actually has one blue eye, also known as a ‘wall eye’ - although it used to be thought this meant the horse was blind in one eye, blue eyes are no weaker than brown!
Nicknames: Mist, Misty-Moo
Having always been wise beyond his years, Saxon is a steadying force on the yard. Both a reliable jump and flat horse, Saxon is another one that often appears in our exams and competitions. Although he loves to jump, we keep his work varied, with lots of lunging and hacking to keep him ticking along. Fun fact: While usually well-behaved, Saxon has a habit of randomly changing the rein whenever the rider isn’t paying attention!
Nicknames: Sax, Saxone
Breed: Welsh x Thoroughbred (we think!)
An 18hh stallion trapped in a 13hh body, BB is a hilarious addition to the team. Concerned mainly with food and when he can next get more of it, BB does also deign to take part in lessons now and again. Best described as a loveable rogue, BB keeps everyone on their toes and is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face. Fun fact: When trying out his jumping for the first time, BB tried to run off with Lou, while Mary stood by the side, laughing her head off!
Nicknames: Bee, Bucephalus (after the stallion of Alexander the Great!)