They say a friendship between a girl and her horse lasts a lifetime.
That is clear to see with Numurkah resident Mel Borella and her clydesdale cross stock horse Sparty.
Although not the only horse in her heart, Sparty is pretty special to Mel.
Fittingly for his height and size, Sparty has a big personality.
“I’ve had him for eight years now and he’s pretty cruisy, we’ve become a real team,” Mel said.
“He’s just a big spud, really — he likes to lick my face when I take my helmet off and he’s always in your face, he just has to be touching you, he can’t be out of the bubble.”
Mel admits Sparty’s size has scared her more than once, including the time her leg met his hoof.
“We were playing a game at pony club where you cover your face with sugar, so my face was completely white and he looked at me and got spooked,” she said.
“He threw his leg out and made contact with my upper leg and he actually tore the muscle.”
This mishap has left Mel with “a hole in my leg”.
“I couldn’t sit down for about two weeks and I had the worst swelling, but it was an accident and with animals sometimes things go wrong,” she said.
Still her number one show horse, Sparty and Mel are gearing up to compete in Albury next month.
“He loves jumping — he’d jump the moon if I asked him to,” Mel said.
Last year the duo took home the team shield for the six bar competition.
Unfortunately, Mel says cross-country is not Sparty’s forte.
“I am terrified of cross-country — that’s probably why he’s really bad at it,” she said.
“He probably wants to cradle me a bit more or he just wants to get it over and done with, so he goes really fast.”
Sparty spends most of his time with his brother Sylba, with whom he shares a paddock.
“I do everything for them first — I always put myself last when it comes to them,” Mel said.
“Every morning before work I go out there and pull the rugs off and when I get home even if it’s dark they still get their rugs put back on. Sometimes I think they like carrots and apples more than me but they’re happy.”
More My Pet features: