On Sunday 15 May we threw a party in honour of Buddy, our lovely Irish cob who, after five years with us, has now been retired and is off to live the life of a country gent.

Buddy, affectionately known by many as “The Budster” has been a loyal, reliable and much loved member of the team. Staff, children and volunteers will all miss his kind face, gentle nature and beautiful blue eyes.

A remarkable pony
There is so much we will miss about Buddy. During his time with us he has taught hundreds of young people to ride and has been the perfect pony for first-timers right through to more experienced riders.

Buddy has also been on residential trips, loving his time at Stowell Park, competed in many shows often bringing home rosettes – including first place for Best Gypsy Cob and taking part in a dressage competition at Hickstead in 2015.

He has also been on regular visits to The Michael Tippett School, a local school for young people with profound and complex learning needs, for meet and greet sessions with pupils, where his gentle nature made him a firm favourite.

Whether someone needed a confidence boost, was attempting canter for the first time, or wanted to give jumping a go, we always knew that they were in safe hands (or should that be in a safe saddle?) with Buddy.

As Grace, aged 12 says, ‘Buddy is my favourite. Some people say he’s fat but really he’s just muscular!’

Friend to the famous
During his time with Ebony Horse Club, Buddy has had the honour of meeting many famous faces – but has never been star struck or played up for the cameras.

He has performed in front of the Queen, been fed polos by our President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, posed in a photo with broadcaster Clare Balding, and has been in a masterclass taught by Olympic Gold Medallist, Ben Maher.

He has even met former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, as Letty Porter, Funding Manager at Ebony Horse Club, explained: ‘In 2012 we took Buddy and a couple of our young people to Lambeth Palace to help launch the Lambeth Giving Fund. When the Archbishop met him he somehow knew that Buddy had come to us from Wales. As a fellow Welshman, I think he got quite fond of him.’

She continued “Buddy is a truly amazing horse who has given us five years of dedicated service. The party was a fitting send off for a very special pony who deserves his retirement.”

Watch this special video of some of Buddy’s best bits.

As a charity, we rely on generous grants from charitable trusts, fundraising support and donations from individuals to ensure we can provide much-needed services and support to children and young people in the local community.

Find out how you can help by visiting our support us page or make a donation via our Vigin Money Giving page.