Framed Horseshoe Memento Celebrates Pony Champion, Eastdale Diva.
Grooms put in long hours behind the scenes, working their magic and enviable talent to turn out gorgeous glistening mounts. Happy to take a back seat and let others shine. And as this story reveals, they possess an unwavering dedication to their charge as well as the person they work for.
Chantelle Banbury who grooms for the Cadwallader family, had been groom for legendary pony champion ‘Eastdale Diva’ (bred by Julie Douglas), for two and a half years, when tragedy struck the pony, and the family had to heartrendingly bid her farewell.
Diva and Trey Cadwallader after winning the junior led turnout at New Zealand Nationals 2017. Photo used with permission by Chantelle Banbury.
“Diva was an absolute legend”, recalls Chantelle. Her career highlights include; 6 time (consecutively) NZ Small Show Pony of the Year (2012-2018).
“The secret to her success was her family, they are all so dedicated and the kids work really really hard with all their ponies. Nannette is so committed to them. I think love too – she loved her family, and knew she was loved in return. The ponies really enjoy their lives and it shows!” said Chantelle.
Diva had multiple wins in Australia (traveling to Australia to compete on three separate occasions) including EA Australasian Medium Pony Championship (2013) she was also runner up in this class in 2015. In 2017, she won Equifest First Year Ridden and was runner up medium pony in Sydney.
Diva and Brooke - Champion First Year Ridden Pony, Equifest Sydney 2017. Photo Credit: Chantelle Banbury.
In 2015 Diva won all three Lead Rein, First Year Ridden and Small pony titles at NZ Horse of the Year (HOY) with Nannette Cadwallader’s three children Mia, Brooke and Trey respectively. Impressively, she won a total of 13 NZ HOY titles and 16 National titles in her career before it was cut short by her tragic loss.
Diva and Nannette - Led Pony of the Year, NZ Horse of the Year. Photo supplied by Chantelle Banbury. .
Chantelle was deeply impacted by the loss of Diva, but what she found most difficult was witnessing the family she cared so much for, go through the anguish of grief. “Watching people you have grown to truly love and care about go through such a horrendous loss, and experience a huge amount of grief and not being able to fix it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. I loved Diva too, we all did. But my heart broke even more because theirs were breaking so hard!” said Chantelle.
Diva and youngest Cadwallader, Mia - Champion First Year ridden and Champion First Year ridden rider, Cambridge A&P Show 2018. Photo Credit: Chantelle Banbury.
Diva and Brooke Cadwallader after winning the show pony gala class at Equitana NZ, 2017. Photo Credit: Chantelle Banbury.
Struggling to make sense of the situation and desperate to ease the family’s pain, Chantelle turned to her love of gift giving. “Gifts are my love language – I love giving them. But giving meaningful gifts is even better”, explained Chantelle, who commissioned Katrina Rivers, to draw a portrait of Diva as a gift for Nannette Cadwallader, a tribute to her talented pony.
Portrait of Diva created by Katrina Rivers. Photo Credit: Horseshoe Mementoes.
“Katrina did such a fantastic job, and was willing to listen to me gush over Diva, over what made her, her. And really try and capture her personality – which I think she nailed!” said Chantelle.
Once the portrait commission was underway, Chantelle got in touch with Horseshoe Mementoes to see whether they might custom frame the portrait with one of Diva’s pony horseshoes. Horseshoe Mementoes transform worn horseshoes by restoring and plating them, they also braid horse hair and set into the horseshoe groove. Chantelle requested Diva’s horseshoe be plated in chrome and set with her braided tail hair. Her shoe would then be framed along with her portrait and a personalized nameplate.
Chantelle entrusted the help of Diva’s main jockey, Brooke to be on look-out and distraction, while she snuck one of Diva’s tiny aluminium pony horseshoes into her car. Diva wore light aluminium horseshoes to keep her movement soft and floaty.
Diva's horseshoe restored and finished in chrome, with horse hair tail braid. Photo Credit: Horseshoe Mementoes.
Diva's Horsehair Horseshoe Memento, framed. Photo Credit: Horseshoe Mementoes.
Framed Horseshoe Memento and Artwork, a tribute to pony champion Diva. Photo Credit: Horseshoe Mementoes.
When asked, whether Chantelle had any ideas on where the Cadwallader’s might display Diva’s framed Horseshoe Memento, her reply was “Pride of place hopefully, although I can see Brooke trying to sneak it off to her bedroom haha”.
“I think they will love it – it truly captures the essence of Diva, and it gives us a lasting tribute to one very special little girl. I’m just grateful that I got to play a part in Diva’s special journey – and subsequently, can give them something that they’ll always be able to remember her by.” Chantelle Banbury.
Grooming tips from Chantelle:
My top tip would definitely be that it all starts at home. You need to get the feed right (Hygain is our magic formula), the work right and have your horse or pony looking good before you start with the makeup and products.
In terms of products, there are so many out there, most do roughly the same thing but each horse is different – so I’d recommend trying them at home first – get your colours right, your quantities right. Show morning is too stressful to be trying it first time on the day.
Chantelle Banbury with Diva. Photo Credit: Chantelle Banbury.
Framed Horsehair Horseshoe Mementoes like Diva's can be purchased from Horseshoe Mementoes here.
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