In the Saddle: Feeling dotty over my spotty..............

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My birthday is on Christmas Eve and I've always insisted that I have separate birthday and Christmas presents, taking offence with people who send me a Christmas card with 'P.S Happy birthday' written on it...until now that is.

Meet 'Haverlands Sully Fire', my beautiful Grade B Appaloosa foal who is my joint birthday and Christmas present. He's my first baby and my last horse (honest!) and I'm sure you'll agree he's a little beauty with his loud leopard print coat colouring.

He arrived at the age of six months old, following weaning from his mum coming straight from the Paula Moore, an Appaloosa breeder of many years and he's settled in perfectly with the mares.

I've never had the pleasure of owning an Appaloosa before. They are such a beautiful breed renowned for their interest and love of humans, their range of fantastic coat colourings and kind but clever personalities.

'Sully' is already learning fast. I'm determined that he will have fun growing up at home but he won't just become a field ornament and we started our training pretty much as soon as he settled into his routine.

Having a baby is very different from owning horses and I've found everything I do with him fresh and exciting. Learning to lead in-hand (he's like a wiggly snake), teaching him to move over in the stable and helping him feel confident with his first farrier trip. There's so much to do and I'm loving every minute of it.

They say that horses are scared of two things. Things that move and things that don't move!

I've started desensitising Sully to lots of things to help prepare him for being bomb proof.

He regularly is turned out with bunting around his field, plastic wrapping tied to trees and windmills that spin in the wind.