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Jango- The Kissy Prince of the Fells

Jango is a 13.2 welsh section C pony. He is also Gorgeous. Pretty. Handsome. Beautiful. Stunning. Cuuuuuuuute!

He’s also very affectionate and his favourite thing is to kiss his human friends. It doesn’t take long to become friends with Jango either, but his best friends get kissed A LOT.

Jango arrived in march 2015, I found him on horses4homes.

His owner wanted to find a forever home for him. She had rescued him and his sister as babies. His sister had been homed, but she was still trying to find the perfect home for the little prince. She had stated ‘within 60 miles’ so she could keep tabs on him, but I took a punt as I felt I could offer him the right home.

After much discussion, a home check was done, agreements drawn up, donations made and the pony

transported to me as full loan.

A year later, Jango’s old owner came up to visit him- that was a nearly 300 mile journey- how great is that?! She was very happy with what she found, and Jango was officially sold to me for £1.

I am still in touch with her of course, and she gets spammed with Jango being fabulous pictures and videos on the regular! It’s a striking contrast from the stories of Cato and Sparti who were commodities and unwanted.

He was a very lucky pony to have this lady come into his life, she saved him from who knows what, cared for him with great love for years and didn’t slack when it came time to find him a forever home. I later found out that she had turned down quite a few potential homes for him as not being right, so I’m extra happy that she trusted me with him, and that he continues to be a very, very loved and happy pony. Seriously, he has a fan club! I sometimes worry someone might try to kill me off so they can offer Jango a home….

Jango hit it off with Cato and Timmy right away! (Timmy was the wonderful fell stallion who sadly passed in feb 2016. He taught the younger ponies how to live on the Fells and his presence is very much still felt here. He is part of the soul of this place).

Jango really relies on Cato for emotional support. Horses need companionship. Keeping them alone is a huge abuse of their needs.

I understand that it is not always possible for everyone to own two or more horses, but it is a big responsibility of horse ownership to ensure they have other horses nearby to act out normal behaviours with, and fulfil their social needs; whether that means having a field sharer, keeping your horse next to another field of horses so they can interact over the wall/fence, or if they must be stabled, can you have low partitions so they can see and interact with their neighbours?

Jango initially was so strongly attached to Cato that it was not possible to take him out of the fell without Cato. Even going through a gate with Cato immediately on the other side was too stressful for him.

This is separation anxiety and to be honest, it’s really normal with horses to a greater or lesser extent.

Studies suggest that horses who have experienced forced weaning at a young age are far more prone to it.

Allowing a more natural and gradual weaning when a foal is at least 1 year old, preferably closer to 2 creates much more confident and well adjusted adults.

The trend currently is to wean youngsters at about 6 months old which is unnatural and distressing for both foal and mare.

I made sure to set up our environment to prevent Jango becoming stressed as much as I could, and thankfully, he never had to be left alone, and both Cato and Timmy didn’t get stressed if left alone on the fell alone for short periods of time, so it was possible for two to go out and one remain without anyone getting anxious.

Over time, Jango has grown HUGELY in confidence. He isn’t sure about going far on the road alone, but is happy to go out now with Sparti. His reliance on Cato has greatly reduced.

He will also work with me right over the far side of the fell, well out of sight or sound of Cato now, which is just massive when you consider that initially, he had to be within about 5 metres of Cato at all times!

Jango in all other respects is a very happy-go-lucky pony. He is great fun and loves to play. For him, being ridden is just playing, and he will goof around to the point where I have fallen off him because he’s made me laugh so much.

He is another shining example of what a pleasure it is to work with force free trained horses.

Jango recently started learning how to pop over a very small cross pole (I mean VERY small. I am not willing to ask them to do big jumps or lots of it, it’s not beneficial for the horse).

As with all the training and riding we do, the horse has free choice and is never MADE to do anything.

Jango knocked a pole, so I hopped off to put it back, leaving him eating some grass. I have a video that shows me walking to the mounting block past him as he grazes and him spotting me and coming straight up and lining up for me to get on his back so we can carry on our new game.

He had the entire fell to play on, Cato and Sparti, free grass, but he chose to invite me to sit on his back and play at trotting and cantering over a wee jump.

That kind of thing just blows my mind. It’s a far cry from every single horse i’ve ever known before. (check out my blog on horse charming for more info on the training we do).

And we can all agree, is is a gorgeous little prince.