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Who's Shoes - Shelly and Charlie, Bryn and Huggy

Who's Shoes? is a regular feature, highlighting customers who ordered products and asked them to be made more memorable by having them built using their own horses' or pony's shoes. 

Meet Shelley, and find out more about the lovely lady who asked for this handsome wooden towel rack to be built using shoes from her three horses. 

wooden horseshoe handle bathroom towel rack holder


Tell us about you 

I’m Shelley, I’m a scientist, a Mum of 3 young children and I have 3 horses. I evented as a junior but took a break from the saddle for 18 years due to career and children.


Who do the shoes belong to?

Top shoe: Charlie Brown, 14.2hh Welsh section D gelding, dark bay, 11 yrs. Very forward going kind and affectionate boy who is eager to please and hates getting it wrong. Stresses if he can’t get it right.

Shelley Finlan riding Charlie Brown


Middle shoe: Blueberry Bryn, 13.2hh New Forest Pony, bright bay gelding, 7 yrs. Very placid, lazy and laid back boy but does enjoy his work when he’s awake enough!

Shelley Finlan riding Blueberry Bryn

Bottom Shoe: Huggy, 16.2hh chestnut Dutch warmblood, 10 yrs. Very anxious and nervous boy who needs one to one and a quiet rider and handler. Very affectionate and empathetic boy.

Shelley Finlan riding Huggy


How did they come into your life?

I saw Charlie advertised on preloved. My twins had just started nursery and thought I would have time for a horse after an 18 year break from riding. I went to try him out during heavy flooding so could only hack him up the road but loved him the moment I saw him.

Blueberry Bryn came to me from my sister who bought him as a wild foal from the New Forest for £150. She kept him on her Alpaca trekking farm in Southampton for 4 years with the intention of breaking him in and competing him with her teenage daughter. She sent him to me unbroken as a 5 year old after struggling to keep his weight down and suffering from mud fever on and off due to the wet ground he was kept on. I was supposed to look after him for a few months whilst she sourced new land for him but he never went back!

Huggy came from a dealer. He’d been imported as a 3 year old from Holland and passed about from dealer to dealer. He had no mileage at all and very few people had been able to get on him before he came to me when he was 7. He suffered from massive panic attacks and severe anxiety and would bolt. He is very strong and has no brakes when he is overcome with fear! I have taken our journey very slowly to earn his trust and form an amazing bond. He’s very special indeed.


How long have you owned them?

I have had Charlie Brown for 3.5 years. Huggy has been with me for just under 2 years and Bryn came just over 2 years ago.


What do you with them?

Charlie Brown is a super all rounder and his turned his hoof to many different activities. He is the WPCS national performance champion and show jumping champion. He has competed at the British Show Jumping National Championships for the past 3 years. Charlie has also reached numerous BRC national championships too in both dressage and Show Jumping. He has also reached the Area Festival national finals this year in novice freestyle.

Bryn is still relatively green. I broke him in in June 2020. Covid restrictions meant he didn’t get much of a start at real shows in 2020 but we did manage to get to the BD MyQuest Regionals last year. I opted to do the online dressage shows with Bryn to get some test riding experience and feedback during lockdown. I’d not done much dressage before so it has been a steep learning curve. We started at intro level last June (his first month under saddle) and 15 months later we’ve just recorded our very first elementary test. We have an amazing connection when makes test riding an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding experience. We’ve had a lot of unexpected success with the online dressage!

Huggy has had a quiet steady journey. We’ve been out for lots of lessons with our amazing trainers and I waited until I felt the trust in our partnership was really secure before competing him. We started our competition journey post lockdown this year and he qualified for the British Show Jumping championships plus the BRC national Show Jumping championships. He’s absolutely amazing to jump!


What do you love about riding?

I love the connection, the bond, the freedom, the tranquillity and the ability to be at one with my horses. I feel a huge sense of achievement when my horses go well.


If you had to sum up each horse in one word what would it be?

Charlie- reliable. Huggy – special. Bryn – imperturbable.


Tell us about their character

Charlie is a dude. He likes to think of himself as the herd leader. He’s affectionate and gorgeous to handle on the ground. He’s really bold and confident with scary things like helium balloons and carrier bags in the hedgerows but can be very concerned about natural things like flapping leaves and large clods of mud! He always tries to please but hates to get things wrong and worries if we don’t get it right in training. He’s strong and eager into a fence and he’s like riding a very bouncy tigger in dressage!

Bryn is laidback, serene and very easy and quiet to handle. He’s lazy when you first get on him and is like trying to start a petrol engine with a dodgy choke. Once his engine is warmed up a bit, he’s lovely to ride. After about 20mins when his engine is fired up, he’s a little pocket rocket and quite remarkable! He’s extremely well balanced naturally and is so incredibly trainable as he just doesn’t’ really get flustered. He does have a large buck on him though when he’s had enough!

Huggy is really anxious about changes and routine. He likes things to be laid out in a structured way. He’s an incredibly affectionate, empathetic and loving boy when he trusts you. He’s very easy to handle and will follow you everywhere if you have treats in your pockets. To ride, Huggy is extremely sensitive. He’s needs an extremely quiet, kind and sympathetic rider, any sudden movements or noises scare him. I sometimes feel like I’m driving a Ferrari on a buttered surface. He’s the most powerful and talented horse I have ever ridden. He’s so exciting for the future.


Do they have any dislikes?

Charlie dislikes Donkeys. Huggy dislikes raised voices. Bryn dislikes early starts, he’s a typical teenager!


What are their favourite treats?

All three LOVE food. They will do anything for a polo or an apple or any treat in fact.


Want More?

Read more Who's Shoes articles and discover more about our customers and what amazing products and gifts they have had crafted using their own horse's or pony's shoes here