Diago and Simba a loveable pair

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Just horsin’ around: Zoe Strang with her horses Diago and Simba. Photo by Rechelle Zammit

Zoe Strang’s two horses have contrasting personalities.

She describes the older of her two horses, Diago, as “a grumpy old man” whereas the younger one, Simba, is like “a cheeky kid that’s still in the terrible twos”.

Zoe, a Tallygaroopna resident, competes in eventing competitions — that is, dressage, showjumping and cross country — with her horses.

Nine-year-old Diago came from a track background before she got him, but Zoe admits he “wasn’t very good”.

Thoroughbred: Diago is a “crowd favourite” among Zoe Strang’s friends. Photo by Rechelle Zammit

The thoroughbred was too slow for racing and did not make it to the racetrack.

She said when she got him as a five-year-old, Diago was not even sure what ‘go’ meant, but had worked it out since.

“No wonder he was no good at racing,” she said.

She trained Diago from scratch to compete in eventing, and his ribbons are among a swag Zoe has won over the years.

Ready to ride: Zoe Strang has won eventing ribbons with Diago. Photo by Rechelle Zammit

Zoe said Diago had a lazy walk and tripped over his reins when you were walking him down a laneway.

He doesn’t have the same problems once he is in competition though.

“He never has problems over the jumps,” she said.

Unfortunately Diago has had recent injury issues, and Zoe has not competed for much of the season.

Getting ready: Zoe Strang saddling up Diago. Photo by Rechelle Zammit

She describes him as a “grumpy old man”.

“He’ll tolerate pats, and then he’s had enough of them,” she said.

However, she said the gelding could be “smoochy” when she got on him and was a “crowd favourite” among her friends who had ridden him.

“He’ll try hard to please,” Zoe said.

“Everyone loves him and threatens to steal him.”

Zoe has always had four-year-old Simba, breeding him out of her old Pony Club mare Mystic.

His father is a stallion that lived down the road and whose owner was giving out free services.

Ready for action: Zoe Strang with her “cheeky” horse, Simba. Photo by Rechelle Zammit

Zoe is not yet competing in eventing on Simba, instead working on his flat work.

“He’s coming along nicely,” she said.

“He’s just learning how to canter without bucking.”

Zoe said the mind of the quarter horse cross was “always racing”.

He is also very friendly.

“He’ll follow you around the paddock and be friends with anyone,” she said.

Posing: Quarter horse cross Simba. Photo by Rechelle Zammit

“And he’s a massive smooch.

“He’s pretty groovy.”

Zoe plans to event with Simba eventually but she does not jump her horses until they are aged over five years, as their brain is small and still growing until then.

She aims to have him competing in dressage and showjumping at the end of next year.

Having a nibble: Zoe Strang feeding Simba. Photo by Rechelle Zammit

Even though she has not competed much on her own horses this year, Zoe still enjoys having them around.

“They’re just fun. I come home and go for a ride,” she said.