NEXGEN Sets The Young Horse Standard For 2021
An 8-year-old girl named Maia Fletcher spends her time helping her grandad to look after his five giant shire horses.
Many of the younger generations find their fun in gaming or being on their phones but Maia likes to keep it traditional by caring for huge shire horses at just 8 years old.
The little girl looks after the horses that weigh more than a tonne each. She is horse-mad and isn’t fazed by the daunting size of these large animals, which stand at 6ft tall, even though she is only 4ft 6in.
Maia rode her first shire horse at just aged three.
Maia also has her own pony at home but tends to be far more interested in the huge shire horses owned by her grandfather, despite having to stand on a step ladder to wash and groom them, and needing a leg up if she wants to go for a ride.
Her grandfather, John Fletcher, uses the horses to run his Gentle Giants business in Cardigan, Pembrokeshire. His business provides wedding and funeral horse-drawn carriage services, as well as performing at ploughing matches, vintage shows and carnivals.
Maia is still too young and unable to work the heavy plough but she still enjoys attending matches with the grandfather.
She has already learnt how to do multiple things such as how to drive the horses when they are pulling a chain harrow, used to level off the uneven ground.
“She seems to prefer shire horses to all others and has a soft spot for Ned – she likes him more than her own pony. He’s very gentle and just a real one-off horse, he’s so good at everything so he was great for her to handle and learn the ropes.”
“She’s not strong enough to work the plough, I don’t think she’ll be able to do that until she’s 14 or 15, but she comes to ploughing matches and helps me. She can do chain harrowing and she’s very good at shouting instructions at them. I taught her what to do and she picked it up very easily.”
Mr Fletcher added: “It’s nice to see a kid interested in something other than a computer or playing on their phone all the time. She loves helping out, she’s usually here after school and at weekends whenever she can.
She helps with grooming and washing them, although she has to be on steps to do that. And when she wants to ride one I have to give her a leg up to get on, but then she’s happy riding – she’s never worried about falling off.”