When Mum and Dad said I could move my pony, Mr Snow, to a new livery yard, I was thrilled. The facilities were fantastic – the stables were large and there was loads of grazing. There was also an outdoor school with mirrors and a showjumping paddock packed full of jumps. We were going to be very happy there!
The other liveries seemed very friendly – there were people who just wanted to hack, while others went showjumping and eventing, so there was going to be plenty of opportunity to team up with someone and go to shows.
However, on the day I arrived with Mr Snow, everything was fairly quiet and there was just one other livery there – Tara. I was glad someone was there to show me the ropes, and she seemed friendly and helpful, just like the other liveries I’d met when Mum, Dad and I first went to look round the yard.
In fact, it wasn’t long before Tara and I became really good friends. We were both pretty inexperienced riders, although I had started riding almost before I could walk!
We had similar views on horsy subjects and Tara would ask my advice about a lot of things – not that she often acted on it, but she was always keen to learn more.
And it wasn’t long before she had a new pony of her own, called Twinks. She’d outgrown her show pony and had decided to concentrate on jumping, although I don’t think she was as experienced as she made out.
We became inseparable riding pals – hacking out, sharing lessons, and going round to each other’s houses to watch pony vids and do our homework together. In fact, she latched on to me really quickly and didn’t seem to bother much with the other girls on the yard.
“I don’t get on with her,” confided Amelia, one of the other liveries, “because she can be quite bossy and opinionated. And she never says please or thank you. She just expects everyone to run around after her, and her parents seem to spoil her rotten!”
I didn’t pay much attention to that, but then something really strange happened… Mr Snow loved Twinks, but he wasn’t particularly friendly to Tara, which surprised me as he usually loves everyone. For example, when Tara went up to him in his stable, he put his ears flat back.
Then one day, when she went in to straighten his rug after he rolled, he turned his back on her in a threatening manner. And when I said she could have a little pop on him because he was a fantastic jumper, he wouldn’t let her get on.
I couldn’t believe it – Mr Snow turned into Mr Unfriendly whenever Tara was around. It was so out of character for him.
But then I began to understand why…
One day when I turned up at the yard, Lucy – one of the liveries – told me that Tara had been saying unkind things about me behind my back. Tara was upset because I hadn’t been in touch with her for a few days – it had been half term and we’d planned to ride, but then my parents had unexpectedly decided to go away for a few days.
I’d sent Tara a text message telling her what we were up to, but she never received it – or so she said.
After that, she was very cool towards me and at first, I was quite hurt by it. However, in talking to other friends at the yard, I realised the sort of girl she was – very demanding and always expecting a lot from people, but not giving much back in return. I had helped her loads – like the time I took her out hacking for the first time on Twinks, when I helped put some showjumps up for her, when I sat in the school watching her ride Twinks, who’d been really spooky one day. But she never thanked me – it was a one-way friendship.
I suppose that was the reason why Mr Snow was unfriendly towards her – horses are very sensitive to other people’s moods and quirks. I think he was trying to warn me that she wasn’t a genuine friend. In fact, he was right, because she sent me a scathing email, saying I was her “fake friend, just like the others on the yard”.
We all had her best interests at heart and we’d always help each other out, but not Tara. And if she goes on treating everyone like that, she’ll end up with no friends.
She left our yard in the end, because her parents moved house and to be honest, it’s a relief not having her around. I’ll listen to Mr Snow in future!