The Life of a very special Wonder Pony
Quite honestly there are people everywhere. So much hustling and bustling, all of them shoving past each other. There is no sympathy, no manners, all of them out for one thing; usually to find a bargain. Here I am at the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials. Who am I you are probably wondering? Well I am Willberry. I am Willberry the Wonder Pony to be exact. So why an earth did no one seem to notice me? I’m cute, I’m cool, and I’d be the perfect present. Who doesn’t want to own a super soft cuddly teddy horse hmm? All I wanted to do was leap up and say “Pick me! Pick me!” but that’s a bit tough when you’re apparently ‘not alive’… Then, as if she’d just read my mind, a lovely blonde girl grabbed me off the shelf. She said “He’s perfect mum” to a short, smiley woman with bowed legs – she’d clearly ridden all her life.
“Are you sure he’s not a bit big for what we are looking for? And to be quite honest… will Hannah even like him? He’s not exactly all that ‘horse-like’ is he? More of an.. umm… donkey perhaps?” she replied. Big? Excuse me but I’ve got a fabulous figure… with a bit of work. And DONKEY!? No way have I ever and will ever again be referred to as one of those. No in actual fact Mrs I neigh, I have some real class. I do not ‘yeehaw’ like a commoner thank you very much.
“No he’s perfect honestly! Look at him, he’s so cute!” Yes. Yes I definitely like her I thought to myself. I really like her. Come on Mummy to the nice blonde girl. Say yes. Please say yes. My bum has gone seriously numb sat on this shelf for the past 5 days, let alone the box I was crammed into before…
“Okay then. Let’s get him.”
YES! And with that I had a new owner! I was so happy. Literally over the moon. No more living in a box, trekking to shows and never being wanted. Finally I was going to be loved. But who was this Hannah I wonder? I personally quite liked the blonde girl, she seemed rather lovely.
I spent the next week in a bag. As you can imagine I was totally and utterly #unimpressed. But
one day the bag was picked up and I assume placed in the boot of the car as an engine started up soon after and we travelled for a fair time until we arrived a at a humongous indoor school which was apparently called Hill House Farm and it was filled with loads and loads of beautiful jumps – I really wanted to have a go but for some reason Emily and Jayne didn’t let me (Emily and Jayne Smart are their names by the way, they are my absolute saviours). Anyway, finally, after many hours of watching far too many other people having fun popping over the stunning set of jumps, I met Hannah. Hannah Louise Francis. Jayne held me in her arms whilst Hannah crutched towards us. She was smiling with a huge grin, clearly very glad to see Jayne, she had really missed her showjumping lessons with such a special instructor. I was handed over and was hanging precariously out of Hannah’s hand from her crutch – I was very glad that there weren’t any dogs about! I was soon reassured by her company though and she made me feel safe, as whilst she and Jayne had a catch up, Hannah stroked my mane at the same time. I honestly really liked her already. Jayne had yet another lesson to teach afterwards so it was soon time to say goodbye and I was to learn that I had a new home – like it or lump it. Fortunately I would find out that I rather liked it which I suppose is a good thing. Hannah cried a little but held it in very well as we walked away and I waved my little hoof back at them both. Soon Emily and Jayne were just tiny figures at the end of the school. I was sad too but really I had hardly got to know them at all, I felt like I was going to get to know Hannah far better. She seemed different, maybe special. I really didn’t know, but I had this great feeling about her and I was soon to find out why.
During the journey home I felt very privileged indeed as I was able to sit on Hannah’s lap and look out of the window in the front passenger seat – that’s the first time I’ve ever been able to do that! I could get used to this! It was strange watching the world go by for the very first time. Normally it was either darkness to look at or I’d just be watching others, never was I the one in motion. I soon realised from the conversation between Hannah and her Dad though that she was really very poorly. Hannah was 17 years old and had been diagnosed with a very severe bone cancer called osteosarcoma in her pelvis and hip joint earlier that month just one day after her birthday on the 1st May 2015. As it would anybody, it made me extremely sad to find out that an awful disease like cancer had affected someone so young. But as I’ve said before it seemed even more poignant with Hannah. She was still so smiley when I had met her earlier that day, obviously not letting such awful news affect how she was going to continue to make the most of her life and clearly very much up for the challenge in #kickingcancersbutt.
By the time we return home I’m pretty much up to speed with Hannah’s story; she’s ridden horses all her life; it is her absolute passion and it is her dream to ride at the top of the sport for her country in particular. Yet, her dream seemed to come crashing down on May 1st when she was diagnosed with this awful disease, that, until it affects someone close you, you really don’t realise just how hugely life-destructing it can really be.