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Horseytalk.net Special Interview
Jack & Fiona McOuat
 

One day he’s  actually going into the St. Nicholas Day Centre in Lewes, East Sussex and meeting the visitors.
Another day he’s giving a demonstration at Plumpton College.
The next day he’s winning a world championship.

If that’s not amazing enough, 16-years ago he was a rescue pony. He was three-years-old. He was stuck in a field at Seddlecombe. His owner was desperate to get rid of him.

 

Fiona and Jack competing
 
He is Jack!

Says his owner today, Fiona McOuat, pronounced mac-o-at, who transformed him from a wreck to a world champion, “As soon as I saw him I knew he was for me. I just couldn’t say, No. He’s been with me now for 16 years.
I think he’s wonderful. I love him to bits.”

He is Jack, an 18-year-old Welsh Section C, and probably the most adaptable and versatile pony in the world.

Fiona, who was born and bred in Barnsley, Yorkshire – She describes herself as an unofficial horse rescuer -  keeps him in stables on top of the South Downs in Plumpton Green, almost opposite the entrance to the race course.
She admits to being horse - or rather pony mad.

 
“My father and grand-father used to hunt with the Quorn. I never fancied it although I started riding when  I was just 5/6 years old.
“When I moved to Lewes about  30 years ago Jack was my first pony. I’ve got nine now. But he’s my favourite. “

A care officer at the St Nicholas  Day Centre , which looks after adults with   learning disabilities, she was asked a few years ago if she would like  to bring Jack  into the Centre to  meet some of the adults.

“It was their idea,” she says. “He came to the centre at Christmas. He stayed there for a few hours. He was  very popular. He seemed to get reactions from people who had never previously reacted to anything. Everybody loved him. He’s house-trained so there were no problems.”

But Jack’s good works didn’t end with visiting day centres. With Fiona, who admits she got the driving bug when she was 11-years-old, he was also taking part in events organised by the Goodwood branch of Driving for the Disabled as well as a wide range of other driving championships including the prestigeous Three Phase Driving Trials.

But his career was about to take a dramatic leap forward.

Fiona and Jack in St Nicholas Day Care Centre.
 

Early in 2008 Fiona got a call from Boyd Excel asking whether she would like Jack to compete in the Para Equestrian World Driving Championships taking place in Greven, Germany in June.
“I said, Yes. What else could I say?” she recalls.
Jack’s driver at the Championships was Megan Benge, an American.
Together they won not only the team silver but also an individual gold.

 

“Jack knows he’s special,” says Fiona. “He knows he’s a champion. When the bands started to play and the flags started to fly he grew to 16 hh. When it was all over I gave him a big treat: a handful of his favourite spearmint herbal treats. Well, it was the least I could do for him.

“When we got back home afterwards Sally, our vet, was waiting for us with a bottle of  champagne, balloons and lots of carrots. It was wonderful.”

While Jack is Fiona’s favourite each of her other rescued ponies has a story.

 

“My youngest, both fillies,  were found by the police. They discovered them road racing when they were only nine-months old. They had already been shod, after a fashion, hobbled for racing and clipped.

“Pinto, my four year old stallion, was badly bitten by a dog. He’d  been sewn up with fishing line
“When he came to me. I immediately sent  him  down to Cliffe’s for  a scan of his leg.  Now he’s on long-term anti-biotics. Sally’s looking after him. At first, he was difficult to handle. But he’s wonderful now.”

For Sally, Fiona has nothing but praise.
In fact, when Sally recently got married Fiona drove her from Plumpton to East Chillington Church for the service.
“Dick Grey, President of the Oaks Driving Club, lent me his two ponies, Tinker and Penny. It was the least I could do for Sally. She’s wonderful.”

 
 
Images of Fiona McQuat and Jack
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And even more photos ..........
Images of Fiona McQuat and Jack
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