The Gifts that Keep on Giving
It’s that time of year again when we buy presents,receive presents, and sometimes quietly return presents, but as most of us hereknow, some presents are priceless – and they usually come in the form of a dogor a horse.
Whether it’s companionship, unwavering loyalty orsimple, honest love there is something special and unique about the bond weform with the animals we bring into our lives. So, this Christmas, we askedfriends and customers of Aqueos to reveal the most amazing gift their dogs andhorses have given them.
1.Tracy, Aqueos Founder
The greatest gift my horse Rosie gives me is thinking time. She lives outsidemy office door so when I need to make a difficult decision or I need to take afew minutes, I simply pop out and give her a scratch behind the ear. Sheis so friendly and pleased to see me that I immediately feel all is well in theworld.
Caroline, Pony Pals andThe Guinea Pig Gang
Christmas is a magicaltime for children, and also for their parents and grandparents who get to watchthem enjoy the festive season. Sadly, for some people, mainly of the oldergeneration, it can also be a difficult time of year with many confined to theirbeds for medical reasons. That’s why my donkey Mr Kipling and I go to visitthem at residential and care homes – to spread a little Christmas cheer. Itreally is beautiful to see people’s faces light up when Mr Kipling enters theroom. Even residents who are unable to bring a hand up to reach him will turntheir faces to snuggle his muzzle. And when Mr Kipling lifts his head towardsthem and they breathe in deeply, you can almost see them disappear into thepower of animal therapy. This is what makes my job so rewarding; knowingthat everyone can be included and the love I have for my animals is able to beshared with others. I love to watch them bring so much happiness.
Ever since I was alittle girl, I dreamed of having a dog. I was obsessed with 101 Dalmatians, hadmy own robot dog and even had a stuffed Pluto that I walked on a lead. Alas,the closest I ever got to owning one was a Tamagotchi. Sensibly, my parentsknew that they didn’t have the time to care for one as they worked long hours.
Needless to say, the moment I moved into my first home with my partner, we immediately got a dog. I remember sitting on the cold, wooden floor, awaiting the arrival of our sofa and TV, scouring adverts for ‘the one’. And boy, was he worth the wait!
Wilbur came into our lives seven years ago and we’ve never looked back. Our lives have changed so much for the better and it’s all thanks to him. Three years later, Paisley arrived and our little family was complete.
Wilbur and Paisley have brought so much love and happiness to our lives and to those around us. They have become an integral part of both of our families and our fans and followers seem to adore them as much as us.
They have taken us on a world ofadventures in the quest to find dog-friendly places. We’ve seen so manybeautiful sights and experienced so many wonderful things just because of them.
They give us constant companionship andbring laughter and joy to everyone around them. They get me out when I’mfeeling low, make me smile and lick away my tears. They are the dogs that Ialways dreamed of having.
4.Chelsea, Chelsea Pearce Eventing and AqueosAmbassador
My bond is so special with Kilnaboy Buffet. He is a horse like no other and I cannot get over just how intelligent he actually is, almost human.I remember reading story books when I was younger, about a girl’s bond with herpony, thinking it was something of a fantasy that her pony would know what she was thinking and feeling. Yet, I canhonestly say when I am with Kilnaboy Buffet hegives me that feeling in real life. Hecan sense how I feel and it genuinely is human-like. The relationship an individual can build with a horseis actually something very, very special,an incredible bond. I am so lucky to experiencethat first hand with a horse as talented as Killi."
5.John, Gundog Owner and Aqueos Fan
When I retired six years ago, I decided – after not having one since I was a child – that I’d like to get a dog again. I thought it was a good way of getting me out walking and exercising and I was right. What I had forgotten, however, was just how much a part of the family they become - so much more than just pets!
Our dogs (no, we couldn’t stop at one!) make us belly laugh, give us unconditional love and warm cuddles and (unfortunately) cause us to cry sometimes – just like rest of our family. Unlike the rest of the family, they also shed hair, chew shoes, underwear etc and can be relied upon to seek out the smelliest mud baths for miles. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.
To see our dogs enjoying themselves simply by running in fields chasing a ball or to see how happy they are to see us when we come home is an instant ‘feel good’ injection in a stressful and increasingly fractious world.
There’s nothing quite like settlingdown at night for cuddles with several snoring hounds for reducing stress levels!
6.Oscar, Fiona Hobby Equestrian Coaching
At the moment, I compete three ponies and one horse. I was given the ride on Boyzie (Craughwell Boy) in the summer and after jumping him only once I knew how much I loved him and proceeded to take him to Scotland that weekend, not the most sensible idea I thought, but when we got there I came 4th in my first class on him, a 1.10.
When we got Boyzie, he was nervous, quirky, and distrustful. I have now got to know him and he’s calmed down to become a very friendly, loving pony who’s always glad to see you.
In the last six months we’ve gone from jumping 1.10 to 1.25 and we’re getting placed in our first international classes together.
I’mreally looking forward to next year with him, which will be my last year onponies, and I’ll be aiming for the Horse of the Year Show qualifiers. We’revery lucky to have Aqueos sponsoring us, particularly as Boyzie is grey and heloves a good roll around in the mud!
7.Vivienne,Rescue Owner and Aqueos Customer
My dog Lulu came from Cyprus where she was very badly neglected. Because of that, she has her own idiosyncrasies and ‘issues’ which took time to understand. However, from day one she has been a delight to have around.
Lulu is a very elegant lady who loves being on my knee for cuddles and despite absolutely loving her walks she never pulls me (I have very bad arthritis and I’m not great on my feet). It’s almost as though she knows she needs to take care of me when we’re out.
Knowing that she had been so badlytreated, I love seeing her sunbathing in the garden and gazing out into thewoods. She looks to all the world like she’s contemplating her new life. Inturn, Lulu has given me companionship, love and a reason to get up each day.
8.GillMcKenna, Dog Lover and Aqueos Customer
Allmy animals have thought me so much! Jet, our pre-loved German Shepherd crosshas most-likely taught me the most. He came to live with my partner and I at 18months old, unsocialized and untrained. With time and patience, he changed somuch. He is now happy, sensitive and pretty obedient!
I have enjoyed doing reward-basedtraining with him, and I feel I have learnt as much from him as he has from me.Jet loves to please me and I find his energy inspirational and uplifting.
9.Gaelann,The Orchard Holding and Wacky Racers Adventures
All my horses give me so much. Starting with Ninja also known as Coffee, the troubled thoroughbred, it’s fair to say we’ve had our downs and hit close to rock bottom a couple of times. But from all he has been through, he reminds me to be brave and have faith. There is a solution to a problem somewhere. The answer is there, it’s just not always obvious or immediate. Confidence is taking imperfect steps, one by one. Any step is one closer to a dream. No matter how many times you go backwards, always remember those steps forward.
Then there is Smiler also known asAlfie our ex-racer. He has shown me that nothing is perfect, you can strive forperfection, but don’t obsess about it. My life is in my diary. I would be lostwithout my notes, directives, plans, schedules. I cannot be unorganised; itmakes me very uneasy. Similarly, Alfie doesn’t like change; he finds some thingsvery difficult to deal with. But after a few speed wobbles, he learns it can beOK after all. I have to remind myself to celebrate the little things that weaccomplish together and stop focusing on what didn’t work. Focus on feelinggood and celebrate every single success with enthusiasm.
Then there is Beth, my retired oldie and memory maker. The most wonderfully average, but most fabulous all-rounder, every day Beth puts her best hoof forward. She never lets me down. She has the most amazing inner strength with warmth and tenderness. Yet on the outside she was, and still can be, a right royal moody monster. She’s taught me to never judge the outside, and always look at what is inside!
10. Ange, Eventing Addict and Aqueos Fan
So,what to say, other than four-legged furry friends are the best kind to have!
If I’m feeling sad and emotional,they know it and they almost search into your soul to try and mend the hurt. Myhorse just knows my every emotion; she is so in tune with me it feels like shewould do anything for me if she could. We do more for our furry friends becausethey ask for nothing from us.
Andrea, Aqueos Blogger
And finally, a word from me!
I think all of our friends and ambassadors have caught the magic of our animals perfectly. We all share a unique bond with our companions and yet it is one of the most universal loves we will ever know. For me, my six rescue dogs are my loyal companions; the family I come home to who make me feel secure, happy and loved.
My two horses are my passion. They are the reason I look forward to each coming day. They make me want to better myself so I can be the kind of rider they deserve and they force me to live in the moment. When I am with my horses, I don’t worry about what tomorrow might bring or what happened the day before, I am in the here and now, and that is quite a special gift they hand me, allowing me to escape this crazy world we live in for at least a few hours of the day.
So, cherish the ones you love – and the ones who love you back – and have yourselves a very, merry Christmas!
With love from me, Tracy and the rest of the Aqueos team!