Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
10:43 AM 9th January 2017

Little Alf & Friends

Hannah with Pepper and Alfie
Hannah with Pepper and Alfie
A common question I get asked about Little Alf is does he have any field companions?

I think people see so many pictures of me and Alfie together they must sometimes wonder if he has any other horsey friends to play with and the answer is yes, actually Alfie has more friends than most horses will in their lifetime...

I have a total of four horses including Alfie. My first pony is Badger who is now 28 years old. Badger is a Welsh section C cob and I used to go to Pony club with him every Saturday.

I've owned Badger for 13 years since I was 6 years old and Badger is now retired and enjoying a peaceful life with the other ponies. He needs a little more care in the winter time, but he is well looked after and often enjoys snoozing in the sun.

Next came along Pepper. Pepper is also a miniature Shetland just like Alfie but just a little bit bigger. He is 34 inches high. We got Pepper as a companion to Badger, as Badger was living on his own. Pepper was also looking for a home as he suffered badly from a medical condition called 'Sweet Itch' which is caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of midges in the summer.

Pepper and Alfie in their paddock
Pepper and Alfie in their paddock
Pepper's old owner couldn't handle his condition so he came to live with us and bonded with Badger straight away. The pair have been the best of friends for many years. Pepper is still young at just 12 years old and he gets regular walks down the street alongside Alfie, as well as joining in with clicker training lessons.

It wasn't long before I started to look at getting another horse to ride. Badger was getting a little bit older and I knew it would be soon time to retire him, which was a heart breaking decision, but I knew he was ready to have some time off after all his years of being ridden.

I came across Paddy who was looking for a loving home. Unfortunately Paddy hadn't had the best start to his life and needed a lot of care and attention. Paddy is a black and white Gypsy cob with a lovely flowing mane and tail (which can be a nightmare in winter!)

After a few conversations I decided to give Paddy a home and give him the love and care he deserved.

He was very frightened at the beginning but soon settled into life with the other horses. I don't do any competitions with Paddy but I often enjoy trekking around the Yorkshire Dales when I have spare time and I think he enjoys it too. He's very nosy and always enjoys watching what is going on.

Alfie is the cheeky one out of the group and is often teasing the bigger horses over the fence. Since Alfie is so small he is in a separate paddock to Badger and Paddy, but spends his days with Pepper, usually causing mischief together.

I often say horses are just like chocolate you can never have just one...