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Ozzie: The Story of a Young Horse

Ozzie: The Story of a Young Horse

Автор Elaine Heney

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Ozzie: The Story of a Young Horse

Автор Elaine Heney

141 страница
2 часа
9 февр. 2022 г.


The heart-warming true story of an Irish Connemara pony. Winner at the EQUUS Film Festival AWARDS. Written by the #1 award-winning movie director of Listening to the Horse, Elaine Heney.


At the horse sales in Kilkenny, Elaine Heney bought a green five year old gelding. As she unloaded him in Tipperary that evening she realised she had a restart on her hands. This is the story of how they progressed since then. Early reviews have described this book as "beautifully written, fantastic and totally addictive reading. Elaine captures you and drags you into her world. Ozzie was featured in the award-winning 'Listening to the Horse' movie.


"Small, wide-eyed and nervous the grey walked anxiously around the sales ring, his front feet moving apprehensively through the fresh yellow sawdust. Bidding started quickly, with the English lady leading the buyers triumphantly from the ring side. 500 quickly turned into 1000 and at 1500 he was officially on the market and would be sold. We quietly put in the next offer to the auctioneer's delight and after two or three more minutes of bidding, it was only us and the English dealer left as the price climbed higher. My heart was in my mouth. `Going once, any more bids now'? The auctioneer's question rang around the room, crackling on the loudspeaker outside. I clenched my fists tightly and stopped breathing completely. `Going twice, this is your last chance now......' the auctioneer paused, hammer raised, as I wished and hoped and prayed simultaneously. The auctioneer took a deep breath, as he glanced around the room and then shouted `Sold!' exuberantly, as the hammer flew through the air and crashed down loudly onto the dark mahogany counter........ "


Elaine Heney is an Irish horsewoman, film producer at Grey Pony Films, #1 best-selling author, and director of the award-winning 'Listening to the Horse' documentary. She has helped over 120,000+ horse owners in 113 countries to create awesome relationships with their horses.


Elaine's mission is to promote the practice of listening to the horses and to make the world a better place for the horse through her award-winning movies, DVDs & online training courses. She lives in Ireland with her horses Ozzie & Matilda. Learn more about her work at Grey Pony Films.


9 февр. 2022 г.

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Ozzie - Elaine Heney


The Story of a Young Horse


Elaine Heney

Copyright Elaine Heney August 18th 2008.

Third edition, March 2022.

All rights reserved.

Thank you to Ozzie, John, Margaret, Pia & Cecile. Enjoy all Elaine’s books atwww.writtenbyelaine.com Learn more: www.greyponyfilms.com


No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher in writing. The publisher disclaims any liability incurred in connection with the use of this data or specific details.


Horse Riding Apps




Other books by Elaine Heney

Equine Listenology Guide

Equine Listenology Workbook

Equine Listenology Journal

Horse Anatomy Coloring Book

Conversations with the horse

Children's books by Elaine Heney

My Sister is a Unicorn for kids 2-6

Horse Care for kids age 6-11

Horse Journal for kids age 6-15

Horse Puzzles for kids age 7-13

The Forgotten Horse for kids 8-12

Enjoy all Elaine’s books atwww.writtenbyelaine.com

Online courses: www.greyponyfilms.com

Table of contents

01. The sales

02. Untouchable

03. Catching the horse

04. Moving forwards and going backwards

05. Confidence after two weeks

07. The brakes

08. New Zealand and Australia.

09. Building confidence

10. Scary stuff

11. Trust and partnership

12. Confidence

13. The plastic bag

14. The confused

15. Six weeks and in the saddle

16. Early rides in the saddle

17. The horsebox

18. Teaching things twice.

19. Eight weeks and time to update our goals.

20. Think for yourself: Day six in the saddle.

21. Bolting over fences

22. Our first trot

23. Bucked off

24. Groundwork and revisiting the basics.

25. Getting rid of the no when riding.

26. An Australian in England

27. Ozzie says yes.

29. Four weeks later

30. Everything comes together.

Thank you!

01. The sales

‘Lot 24: Grey geld. five yrs. About 14.3h. Broken and riding.’

The black and white catalogue entry was brief and basic, buried amongst two hundred similar entries. Not that we had paid much attention to it yet.

Dad and I had left earlier that morning from home and we had arrived in Kilkenny just after 12.30pm. I would often come to the sales when I was younger, tagging along after Dad. We spent days looking at horses of all makes and models.  Some were well trained and confident and some green as the grass they ate. Some weren’t too pretty, some looked great on paper and the lucky ones also looked good in person. I was never too picky.  If it had four legs and a tail, looked like a horse and smelled like a horse it was good enough for me. We would walk around all two hundred stables, peering into the darkness to see what each contained. I usually had my own opinions on the various horses we saw.

‘Dad, I really like the nervous bay one. He’s pretty skinny and I kind of feel sorry for him....’

I was usually correct, but luckily Dad was more discerning. He had a natural eye for a horse. When he found a big scopey horse he liked, that horse was usually pretty special.

‘I see what you mean,’ Dad would reply, ‘but he’s back at the knee and his back legs are a bit hooky. We’ll have to keep looking. What do you think of this chestnut?’

And so we’d march on, assessing every horse we met until the day was over, or if we were lucky, until we found what we had been looking for. Buying the right horse was never easy.

Two weeks previously on a freezing February morning, I had flown back from sunny Brisbane. I had spent December and January working at a yard in the Southern Alps, and most of February training horses in the tropical heat in Caboolture.  My head was full of training horses, and at the ripe old age of twenty-nine I wanted to buy myself a young horse to use the horsemanship I’d learned out in Australia and New Zealand. I was looking for a young green horse between 15 and 16 hands with good conformation, beautiful movement, not much done and a clean vet’s cert. It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack but I knew if the right horse was here we would find him.


The ponies were being sold in the sales ring as Dad and I stood patiently outside in the yard, enjoying the warmth of the spring sun. Nearby, two mature ladies who had both seen their fair share of weather were leaning over the arena rails, each smoking a cigarette. The dark haired lady rested her arms on the wooden rails. She didn’t look too happy.

‘What did I tell you, he’s a rough one that horse. He nearly killed me there last week. I showed him though,’ she smiled bitterly. ‘I’ll be glad to see the back of him.’

Even in her glamorous green jacket, expensive gold watch and dark sunglasses, I got the feeling that you wouldn’t want to meet her alone on a dark night. As she lifted her cigarette towards her mouth, I noticed her hard hands matched her horse. The streaky blond nodded in agreement.

‘You’re as well off. He needs a good sorting out. If I sell my two and we go home with an empty box this afternoon, I’ll be happy.’

The blond was of fairly robust stock too.

‘Yep. They seem to be selling so hopefully we’ll be in luck,’ the dark haired lady continued.

‘I’ve had my eye on a four year old of Mark’s down the road. Broken and riding, been out hunting and jumps likes a stag loose over a metre ten. I reckon if I can get him at the right price I might have him ready for Dublin next year.’

They paused to watch the bay jumping an oxer, and then the dark haired lady pushed her long fringe away, glanced at her watch and sighed.

‘Come on, we better get going. We’re jumping in half an hour in the indoor. I want to bring that horse out and run him over the practise fence outside a good few times to warm him up a bit. When he’s gone it won’t be a minute too soon.’

‘Grand,’ said the blonde, ‘let’s go.’

The two ladies walked off towards the stables, and were quickly lost amongst the milling crowd.


There wasn’t much else happening in the yard and it was now approaching one o’clock. We had another good half hour to spare before the horses started to come out, so we decided it was time for lunch.

In the dining room the steam was heavy and rising as the ladies behind the counter carved industriously. We ordered our food, paid at the till and sat down. As conversation flowed around the room, the PA system from the nearby sales area mingled with the light smell of fresh horse manure. It was the usual mixture. Dealers with hard eyes, short arms and deep pockets, local farmers who bred a few horses to subsidise the farm, hunters, competition riders looking for new young stock, riding stable owners looking for suitable good value steeds and maybe something flash for themselves, and horses to be sold.

As we ate, I browsed through the photocopied catalogue pencilling in some of the young horses in the 15 hands to 16 hands category which were going to be sold later that day. The sales ring was quite busy with ponies and a female dealer from England was doing a brisk trade in various models from her position at the perimeter of the sales ring. Many of the horses sold today would find their way across the Irish sea that night. The dining area was beginning to empty a little, and with our meal over it was time to head back out and look at some new bloodstock. A little skewbald pony, with the body of a twelve hand pony and the legs of a pony half that size, was making its way around the ring. It was probably the equine equivalent of a dachshund dog, but never the less extremely cute.

Amongst the animals in the yard we spotted a light fleabitten grey which according to the catalogue had very little done. According to the number on its rump, it was about to go into the ring for auction. Dad and I decided to go over for a look.

‘Hi, how are you?’ Dad introduced himself. The seller nodded and shook Dad’s hand, then glanced towards me. He quickly assessed the situation and then shook my hand as well.

‘Arra, I’m good thanks, you?’ He had a Cork accent and wasn’t slow off the ball.

‘Yeah, grand thanks.’ Dad looked more closely at the equine which stood in front of us. ‘What kind of horse is this?’ The horse wore a saddle and bridle and looked quiet enough.

’He’s fifteen hands, grand horse, nice and quiet, he’ll do everything. Been riding him myself’.

We took this knowledge with a pinch of salt.

‘You wouldn’t be able to trot him up for us?’ We attempted to appear completely disinterested, as if we were only passing the time.

‘Sure. You wouldn’t be able to just wave him on a bit would you?’ he replied.

‘No worries,’ Dad replied.

I stood to the side to watch the horse’s movement as Dad jogged around behind the horse and started waving his arms towards the horse. After a few attempts the horse trotted on badly. His strides were fast and short. He was definitely not one of the most elegant movers amongst our list of potential prospects. I scratched his number out in the catalogue. We thanked the owner and then left the area. The whole procedure had taken less than two minutes.


As we walked back through the crowd, a steel grey horse wearing a saddle and bridle, with a number 24 sticker displayed on his rump, stood quietly near the entrance of the sales ring. At this stage the lot number being sold was approaching 40, so this little horse appeared to be lost. But then the only reason a horse will stand outside the ring is if someone is trying to sell him. On closer inspection he looked well put together, if a bit skinny. Dad and I walked up to his owner to see what the story was.

‘How are ya?’ Dad introduced himself and we both looked over the horse.

‘Grand,’ the owner replied, as he nodded at me. ‘Not bad at all.’ The owner tugged on the horse’s lead rope, and the horse cautiously took a step over towards us.

‘Emmm, has this horse been through the ring?’ I asked, as I checked the catalogue. ‘He’s number 24 isn’t he?’

The owner looked under pressure. He was about forty, business like, and in the usual attire of dealer boots, dark coloured trousers and a moderately worn coat. He took his cap off, wiped his forehead, put his cap back on again, sighed, and then looked directly at both of us. He had been around horses for a while.


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