Just some pictures of Kalin, if anyone wants to see! And some clarifications for those who have read The Story of Kalin des Vents.

We bought Kalin for my daughter when he was an injured three day event horse – he’d been French Vice Champion and was heading for an international career when he bowed his tendon not once, but twice and went through a year of painful stem cell therapy treatments. His owner wanted to save him, but she was expecting her second baby and the vet would not say if the horse could ever be ridden again, much less jumped – so we bought him on a gamble.

He was ‘au pair’ at the pony club, which meant Julia had to share him with other riders. The first year, he was too skittish, and no one but Julia rode him. When he settled down, he became one of the club favorites and was ridden by beginners and especially beginner adults. During horse shows, he would often do two or three rounds with different riders. We think the strain was too much for his tendon – he went lame and bowed his tendon severely three years after we bought him.

We rested him for ten months, then slowly trained him for a year before bringing him back to the pony club, but this time he is an “owner’s horse”, and only Julia rides him. It is far more expensive, and we are on a tight budget – but we feel it’s worth it.

When we speak about Julia’s coach or instructor, it’s her pony club riding teacher. In France, pony clubs are popular, the fees are very reasonable and there is a well-organized show jumping circuit within the pony club federation that enables children from all economic backgrounds to ride, compete, and eventually go to the French National Club Championships at the Motte Beuvron!

Now Kalin is 18 and living in the countryside nearby our house. We still ride him and Julia jumps him (he loves to jump) but his competition days are over. He’s earned his retirement!

Here is Kalin at his retirement home!