Feisty 51-year-old pony spills the beans

November 20, 2009

by Neil Clarkson


Scribbles, aged 51, and six-year-old Maddie Eathorne.

Some elderly people put their great age down to a happy marriage, a positive outlook on life, or a careful diet.

Scribbles, 51, is staying mum on the subject, but British owner Alison Eathorne reckons the feisty 11-hand strawberry roan part-bred Shetland gelding is still going strong because of the Spillers feed he tucks away each day.

You can't argue with a 51-year-old pony.

Eathorne was moved to contact the company to let them know that she thought the firm's senior conditioning mix helped Scribbles stay well in his advanced years, and the firm saw no harm in letting the world know about it!

Scribbles is enjoying his retirement after working for many years at a riding school, near Camborne in Cornwall, and he is believed to be the oldest equine in Britain.

When the school closed, local horse lover Alison leapt at the chance to take him on as a schoolmaster for her young children and as a companion for her riding horse.

"He taught my two stepdaughters to ride at the school back in the 1990s and I found his cheeky character irresistible," Alison says.

"Over the past few years he has been brilliant at teaching my youngest girls, Maddie, aged six and Charlotte aged three, all the basics. He may be old but he's no plod and still enjoys being ridden.

"He has always had a great sense of humour, including a high-spirited buck or two and he can still be a handful for our vet!"

With the odd molar missing, he can still manage a diet of soft haylage and grass, but Alison believes it's the firm's senior conditioning mix that gives him the edge - and if you're still being ridden at 51 that's a pretty sharp edge.

Alison says: "I'm keen for horse owners to hear Scribbles' story and to appreciate the pleasures of taking on a veteran.

"Scribbles proves that just because a pony is elderly he doesn't have to look or behave like a geriatric. In this day and age we are lucky to have some fantastic feeds that are especially designed for oldies and they really can make all the difference."

In a tip of the hat to Spillers, its range includes two feeds for older horses. Its Senior Maintenance Mix is a low energy mix for oldies who tend to keep their weight well while its Senior Conditioning Mix is for those needing extra help to maintain weight.