French trotter mare, born 2006.
Gaia came into my life at a time when my direction with horses started to change. I was searching for a horse of my own and, although she really wasn't what I was looking for at the time, something brought us together... she needed me, and I needed her. She is my rock. She has always been there for me and has been a mane to cry into over the years. We have had our ups and downs during our time together… so many downs.. but she still makes me smile each and every day. She has been my inspiration and my teacher. She will always hold a special place in my heart and has my eternal gratitude for the path she set me on.
Gaia came from a farm in France where she was going to be sent for slaughter. She was a failed harness racer and at just 2 years old had already failed her trials and was deemed useless. She had a rough start to her life and was understandably nervous of me when she arrived. She taught me a lot about building trust and establishing a good relationship with a horse.
I was lucky enough to have a short period of time to enjoy riding Gaia, she was a dream. I trained her myself and she gave me my first, wonderful, experiences in bridleless riding.
However, at just 4 years old Gaia was diagnosed with arthritis in both hocks; a result of her hard start in life trotting under harness at a young age. Her left hock is worse as she has become arthritic in an unusual place. It was a hard truth to swallow, and at that time it felt like the world was just so unfair. We cried together, and we got through the painful realisation that she would have to live with this problem for the rest of her life. Veterinary treatment kept her going for a while ridden wise, but wasn't proving very successful and she retired from riding after only a short time. I couldn't keep putting her through the stress of constant trips to the vet just so I could ride her. I cherish every ride we had and I am thankful for what she taught me.
She lives happily now with her herd and enjoys the odd walk out in hand. She still loves to do things with me and has learnt to bow on command. She has touched many hearts and has many fans. She has shown me that there is so much more to horses than just riding.