I had not planned to keep Piyayo, simply to remove him from the owners that would
have a perfectly sound animal destroyed. Like other so called unmanageable horses I
had taken on in the past I would work with Piyayo to rebuild his confidence and
fitness before finding him a new safe home.
Piyayo's first day in his rented stable
with new pal, Merlin the GSD
Having sorted out a rented stable in a village near me at the home of a delightful elderly
lady, with the village green across from his stable as his new schooling arena, I tracked
down an experienced classical rider; Jane Hodge, to help me learn the style of riding Piyayo
was familiar with. At this point in time we actually knew nothing about Piyayo's past life
and experience in Spain, only that he came here from Spain as a wedding present and had
suffered a year of hell.
As Jane and I started to work together to rebuild Piyayo's
trust and fitness, he on every training session endeavoured
to continue to tell us who he was. One of Jane's earliest
observations was with respect to the use of the Spanish
serreta; many imported horses tended to carry the scarring
of their early training using the serreta. In Piyayo's case
there was virtually no sign of ever having a serreta on,
but his high level of skill in executing with bullring speed
the spins, passages, high flying capriole and levade without
being asked, spoke of a horse trained to an exceptional level
by a very experienced light handed trainer.
During our village green training, it transpires that his previous 'titled' owners had been
surreptitiously viewing Piyayo's lessons with prospective buyers, claiming to them that they
still owned Piyayo and he was temporarily with me for training! Having made a sale for a
high price for Piyayo with one of their buyers they then tried to get me to take my money
back on the grounds that they were very distraught at having given up their much loved
horse! Wendy (the groom) found out the truth behind the so called grief and quickly passed
Piyayo's papers to me so we could freeze mark Piyayo (there was a very real threat of him
being 'taken' at night from his stable) and notify the police and a solicitor of the situation.
Having 'nipped' in the bud the attempts of his
abusers to reclaim Piyayo we settled back down to
our riding lessons and plans to resettle Piyayo.
His previous owners replaced Piyayo 'the wedding
present' with an equally expensive living accessory
in the form of a pedigree dog that sadly in less than
a year had been dealt the same treatment and
character defamation as Piyayo.
My search for a new home for Piyayo started with my contacting the appropriate breed
society, only to be informed that they knew of Piyayo through another member who had
already viewed Piyayo, when he was initially put up for sale (and had rejected him as
dangerous), as far as they were concerned he was not pure Andalusian but a part-bred.
The advice they gave me was to have him castrated. Regardless of what the breed society
thought of Piyayo pure or part-bred his entirety had no bearing on his behaviour; only
humans and their ignorance could be held responsible for any bad reputation (totally
unfounded) Piyayo had been given.
So, Jane and I worked on, having great fun being entertained by Piyayo and starting to
send searches to Spain to trace Piyayo's past. Sylvia Lock on hearing about Piyayo
contacted me, to (unnecessarily) make sure I did not castrate him. Sylvia knew that the
Hispano-Árabe was not just 'any part-bred Spanish horse', but a breed type that at that
very time Spain was officially re-categorising to hold a separate State Stud Book and
Piyayo was the only foundation Hispano-Árabe here in Britain.