MAGIC day turns into a good deed (or the other way around)

I’m marking this day, Feb 22nd, as the best day of the year yet, and a very, very special occasion. Not only did this day bring us heaps of joy and happiness, but in the end, we also did a very good deed, and that felt mighty good. The whole report was shot with the Zeiss 16-70/4, that actually blew me a little away…

Has22Fev14-08One of my favorite ladies on Earth, period. And probably the prettiest horse on this face of the globe, too, her new young stud, Bandolero Pequeno

Today was one of those days when the world seems to revolve around a perfect axis of mutual help, companionship, and just plain good and happiness. All day long we were surrounded with help, friendliness, and care from our horsey community, and that was just wonderful. The day started by meeting Gwen at her boarding stables, to go fetch Pirouette, Marla’s new pony from the riding school she lived at, and bring her back to her new home. We did so borrowing Gwen’s husband work vehicle, and tethering our friend René’s spanking new trailer.


Has22Fev14-16Chivas made it crystal clear from the start HE was coming, too

We were buying Pirouette from a down on its luck riding school, that I don’t give over 18 months until they have to throw the towel and close down for good. Business has probably be bad for years now and money is cruelly lacking, meaning the equine working force is ancient, unkept and not eating as it should. Pirouette was one of the very few remaining “useful” and desirable ponies, at 10 years old, with a flawless conformation and lovely disposition. She was priced to sell, with additional cost to plan due to bad care, and though the sellers wouldn’t budge from their asking price, I just followed my gut and bought her.

Has22Fev14-18First instant face to face, Gwen apraising the extent of the damage

Has22Fev14-23Down on his luck : the soon bankrupt selle opens the door on Pirouette

These stables we brought her from have been operating for many years, successfully at first. The facilities aren’t half bad, with some pretty strong points like a huge indoor arena, and a nice geographic location. However, reinforced concurrence from nearby schools, probably poor economic decicions early on, and inclination for the bottle is now rapidly bringing the place to its fate. All horses/ponies used during the lesson when Marla got to try Pirouette were overaged, severely underfed, unkept, with unfitting tack, while only four larger and younger, so called “competition” horses by the owner, were properly fit and clean. Meaning that the very working force of the place is going down fast with old age and poor maintenance, to keep afloat a handful of high need inviduals who bring in no income. It was TIME to get our mare out of there.

Has22Fev14-20First touch behind the door, Marla trying to reach her pony


Has22Fev14-24Notice with girl with the coral scarf, she’s Pirouette biggest fan and has started crying her mascara away (I felt so sorry for her)

Has22Fev14-22Not sure but I think that was Pirouette’s mom, and dark bay pinto named Maeva

Has22Fev14-19And that’s Jerry, her handsome fullblood Shetland father. She looks JUST like him

Has22Fev14-25Take a second to check the expressions on everybody’s face… Marla had gone back to sit in the truck with Chivas as she said she was cold. The old place people look dejected or even hostile, and Gwen starts to have a smile forming, seing how structurally sound and in fact beautiful the mare is. Pirouette is trustful, and the dogs just don’t care…

Not all was truly in order with her vaccines and microchip, original papers were all lost, her feet were a painful mess and a few other things, but I was feeling the more and more imperious desire to just get her the hell out of there asap.

Has22Fev14-26Loading can be a troublesome affaire with equines.

Has22Fev14-27I want to take a second to let you notice the great job the 16-70/4 CZ did on this wole series. The light was subpar, and I was blown by it. Definitely happy

Has22Fev14-28She said “wait a minute, I ain’t going nowhere. It may be a dump, but it’s my home”. Gwen just did the right thing. Took her feet and moved them one by one up that ramp, while the girls were feeding her a carrot and my role was to prevent the seller to ruin all our efforts by pressuring and scaring her, as he tended to. The whole operation took less than 15 minutes. We said our good-byes, reassuring the mascara streaked kid the mare would be taken the best care of, and she could even visit if she wanted to.

Has22Fev14-29Fast forward 20 minutes, we’re met by an curious crowd at our own stables

Has22Fev14-30Marla climbs in the trailer to connect with, and reassure her. I think the bond started right there… Tough capture to grab, too

Has22Fev14-31She wasn’t overly fazed when Camille backed her up gently out of the trailer

Has22Fev14-32She took a good look around her

Has22Fev14-33And so Marla takes charge (check out the mare’s hooves)

Has22Fev14-34Seem already quite comfy together

Has22Fev14-35Oh, we had them giving a halter away by force since we didn’t bring one 😉

Has22Fev14-15And, settled home.

  1. Wait. That wasn’t that easy. Far from it actually. She was fine and open to all new things, but the ponies she was supposed to join didn’t see it that way. The four mares, all more or less her height (but much heavier due to better maintenance) bossed her around the pen a bit, but nothing out of the ordinary to establish pecking order, or nothing she didn’t bow down to and complied. But to my dismay, Vidji’s, Eclaire’s son, a taller gelging, attacked her repeatedly and viciously, to the point she *broke lose* from the pen, into the farm’s OPEN courtyard (giving on to the road). I was *petrified* she was lose in a totally unknown environment, with no halter nor lead on, and with passing vehicles less than 200 yards away. My heart did skip a bunch of beats, during the mad dash Seb, one of our friends, made for the entrance, blocked it, and managed to lock the gate, while Camille went quietly to get her, and Pirouette was all too happy to be back in her custody as by then, she had figured in this new place, humans were friends, but equines were foes.

Has22Fev14-01So Gwen swapped her to a slighlty smaller pen, home of mainly smaller ponies. The mares weren’t overly friendly (but OK) and Caramiel, the only male and therefore king of the place, took and *instant* crush on her, and from then she was safe from any harm. Here Marla explains to Caramiel to be nice with her

Has22Fev14-47Which he all naturally wants to. She IS a pretty girl, after all

Has22Fev14-46Oblivious of the world, chicken live their chicken lives

Has22Fev14-49We paused for lunch. Gwen had promised to treat the teens to Mac Donald’s, and I was to lazy to drive back home so we joined in. Marla was in 7th heaven to hang with her older friends and her coach. Of course, Chivas did come along

Has22Fev14-41After lunch I just fluttered my best Cocker eyes at Yann so he could do something for Pirouette’s feet, and being the great guy he is, he grabbed his tools and went to work at once

Has22Fev14-38I positively love to see him work. He’s a master farrier and just a super nice person, and the ponies usually trust him very fast. Pirouette was a model patient, never flinching or moving an ear. She just stood them and took in her surroundings while he worked on her feet.

Has22Fev14-37I was thrilled when he promtply declared that she had excellent hooves and super sound feet/legs. That’s the first asset of any equine, so learning they were first rate was a major relief

Has22Fev14-40Of course Marla wanted to be a part of it, she jumped in and supervised while she talked quietly to her new friend. Look closely at the pony’s eye and you’ll see she’s relaxed and comfortable, already

Has22Fev14-43And that’s a quite better looking little horse we got here

Has22Fev14-39That’s the before and after shot. I’m so glad she’s out of that dump she lived in

Marla then asked Gwen if she could ride her new pony. Both Gwen and I thought it was a bit premature, so we just set her free in the indoor barn where she’ll work with Marla, so she could get acquainted and familiar with the place. I expected her to run around, get apprehensive of a few things, act silly, whatever. But the most incredible thing happened…

Has22Fev14-14She ran back to us. Or more specifically, she wouldn’t let go of Marla. She did a quick run around the barn, but then followed Marla everywhere, nudging her gently with her nose, as close and familiar as a dog



Has22Fev14-53We could literally see them bonding real time. It was MAGICAL


Has22Fev14-55Marla showed her around the barn


Has22Fev14-57But even lead off the pony stuck with her

Has22Fev14-52So what must happend… happened

Has22Fev14-59Total confidence, from both…

Has22Fev14-58That’s how gentle Pirouette is

Has22Fev14-60(Marla had never ridden bareback by herself before)

Has22Fev14-61My sweet girls 🙂

Has22Fev14-11*Special* moment

Has22Fev14-12Zeiss at F4 !!!

Has22Fev14-62I think they sealed the perfect friendship, right there

Has22Fev14-07We put Pirouette back to her pen for the rest of the day, and I asked Gwen if she would show my husband, who rarely comes to the stables, her magnificent new stud. She gracefully obliged

Has22Fev14-64He’s a sculpture of a horse

Has22Fev14-06My husband, mildly afraid of horses, went into a pen for the first time, and got to learn a few of the guests

Has22Fev14-04Given enough time, I’ll make a horse lover out of him 😉 Pirouette has already made great strides in that direction

Has22Fev14-05Marla gave Caramiel instructions on how to treat her pony

Has22Fev14-02Meanwhile the girls were “sandskiing” in the just completed huge new manège, courtesy of René, our entrepreneur sponsor. That is a huge contribution to the stables and everyone is immensely grateful to him

Has22Fev14-10And that’s him on his protegé (Morgane)’s horse, Fredor, a young but already huge and impressive hunk of bone and muscle

Has22Fev14-09All nice and easy not to spook the beast

Has22Fev14-13Morgane knows him better so takes a few chances

Has22Fev14-65Then we bid our good-byes

Has22Fev14-03And went home after a last bit of love.

Next morning : the sun is shining, Marla’s first words upon waking up “are we gonna ride my pony today ?”. You bet, Sweetheart.


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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14 Responses to MAGIC day turns into a good deed (or the other way around)

  1. Sylvain Gosselin says:

    Vraiment une très belle histoire et très bien racontée!

  2. Dave Uhlig says:

    Really great story Marla! Glad everything worked out for you. The formal portrait of the stud is wonderful. Very well lit and that lens does deliver. Cool stuff.

  3. jls says:

    This was a delight to read. I love the way you captured the rapidly growing bond between Marla and her new pony. Looks like the will be firm friends for years. Love and trust always wins.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while. I even ended up buying a Fuji camera as your blog on the XT1 got my attention. I got the XE2. I loved it so much I traded all NEX7 kit for lenses. I don’t think I regret it so far. Your wonderful shots however remind me what a great little camera it is indeed.

    So, I will keep following the story of Marla and her new best friend. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the A6000.

    • marla2008 says:

      Thank you, and congratulations on the XE2 !! It remained in my Amazon baskt for a while, I agree. However in the end, I’m a NEX over at heart, and I’m excited to see how the new A6000 fares against my trusty N7. It doesn’t matter what we shoot anyway, what does is to have the most seamless tool for the job. NEX for me, Fuji for you and many of my friends, that is fine. Thanks for the kind words on Marla, and make sure to visit back for the scoop on the A6000 😉

  4. Sweet!!!! And your hubby is a lot more daring than I would have been….(I am more than mildly afraid of them)!

  5. MJWC1 says:

    I’m a little bit behind with your posts, so just saw this one. This is probably my favourite of all the posts of yours (at least, those that I have seen). A wonderful story, perfectly captured through poignant and evocative images to present a seamless and multi-dimensioned tale. Really fantastic stuff!

  6. Sanna Paulsson says:

    Dear Claire and Marla,

    I would love to get in touch with you. I have been searching for a while after this little beauty. Any Pirouette, I bought her as a 5 year old and educated her in Sweden. She was truly my best friend. I don’t know if you know this, but her mother’s name is Josefin, and her dad’s Barrabas. I would love to show you pictures of her younger years, as you can see that it is her.
    I would be forever grateful for any response.

    • marla2008 says:

      Dear Sanna, I am intrigued by your message but it just cannot be the same pony. Our Pirouette was born and raised in France and I bought her off her own breeders. You must have a very similar looking one. By the way I met both my mare’s parents, they were still at the same place.

      • Sanna Paulsson says:

        Sorry to bother you again, but I was wondering if it is possible for you to eiher give me your email or I’ll give you mine. I would love to send a picture of my girl so you can see the resemblance.

  7. Sanna Paulsson says:

    Thank you so much for getting back to me. In that case I’m sorry, she looks just like my old ponny. On the dot, but much older. Good luck with her!

    • Sanna Paulsson says:

      Sorry to bother you again, but I was wondering if it is possible for you to eiher give me your email or I’ll give you mine. I would love to send a picture of my girl so you can see the resemblance.

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