Ep8 Transcript: Jade Marshall and Cisco's Story


There has been an interesting (but probably not too surprising) common theme coming through in the interviews I've conducted so far. And that's the equestrian grounding and influence of Pony Club. Today's horseshoe story is no different. In fact, in my interview today with Jade Marshall, she shares about her strong family ties to Albertland Pony Club, north of Auckland and how she and a fellow Pony Club friend found a special way to ‘give back’ to their Pony Club.

Jade also shares how one special horse has given her back riding confidence plus her love of equine photography. 



Welcome to The Horseshoe Storyteller Podcast, where I believe every horseshoe holds a story. I'm Kate Bolton, horse rider, creative and accidental storyteller. You see storytelling isn't something I set out to do. But over the last few years and starting my business Horseshoe Mementoes. I've had the privilege of clients sharing with me the inspiring, deeply moving and entertaining stories behind the horseshoes I have transformed into personalized lasting memories. Incredible tales of partnership, beating the odds, loss and success. Stories that speak of the love we share for our noble friends. Stories that are too good to keep to myself. And so I've become The Horseshoe Storyteller to share them with you. If you love a good horse story, you're in the right place. Let's get started.



Hi, Jade. Thanks so much for joining us today. This is actually really fun, because it's the first time I've got to meet you face to face and have a chat. So I've been looking forward to this. Let's start by hearing your earliest memory of being around horses or of horse riding.



I've been around horses my whole life. All of my early memories are to do with horses. Mum rode since she was little and we got our first pony, me and my sister. She offers pony when I was three, little Misty. Little cute little old thing. She was 30yrs.



She was 30 when you got her?



Yes. Yeah, we only had her for a couple of years. But she came to be pampered and be a great little princess pony for us for a few years.



That's nice. And then did you go on and did you have other ponies?



Yes, I've had many amazing ponies. Yeah, we've had lots of ponies. Cisco's my first hack. I've had many great successes with all my ponies. I have never been very competitive, but always done Pony Club and things with them.



What age would you have started Pony Club?



Oh, gosh, probably five years old or something like that. So I went to the same Pony Club that my Mum went to as well.



So your Mum when she started when she was young at that Pony Club, and then you ended up going to that same Pony Club?






Wow. That's pretty cool. So when did you first come across Cisco?



So we was when I was looking for a hack. I was just coming off ponies. And we'd been searching, for a long time. There were many horses that mum really liked. But nothing that I felt that I clicked with. Until we found Cisco, this big, beautiful black Clyde Cross that I just fell in love with instantly. First time we went to meet him. I was like, This is my horse. Nothing was gonna change my mind.



Yeah, he's gorgeous. Did you have to travel to go and look at him? Was he near you?



He was actually only half an hour's drive away from us. He lived on a farm so he hadn't done much competing. He'd done lots of dressage. But with his owners he hadn't done much other than just enjoy a placid life out loving the nice dairy grass.



How old was he when you got him?



He was 13



And how would you describe his personality? What's he like?



Oh, he's a goober. He's he's super lovely. He loves people and will quite often every time I'm riding him he'll make bee lines for groups of people just because he loves cuddles. He's very calm unless you take his mates away. Then he turns into a two year old and loves running around the paddock. He's just lots of fun to be around, hang out with and as he fairly complicated.



My sister's friends she brought out and she was riding her horse and doing some schooling and things with him. And she just let them loose with Cisco. They had his reins hooked under a leg while they were trying to leg somebody else up onto him and he was just standing there happy as Larry.



Our old farrier that we had when we first got him said that he would travel anywhere to shoe him just because he's so happy just standing there does nothing and has no reaction to anything, he just wants to sleep pretty much.



I am so jealous. My mare is the complete opposite. In fact, she's barefoot at the moment. It's too much drama with the shoes



Like my sister's horse at the moment. He's a top show jumper so he needs his shoes on but he's a bit of a pain so it's nice to have Cisco.



So I understand you've been involved in show hunting in the past.



Yes, Cisco was originally brought as a dressage horse for me. I'm a very unconfident rider and wasn't too keen on jumping but Cisco obviously likes jumping. I think the first show we ever went to was a show hunter round at a local Pony Club. And yeah, he just loved jumping and I didn't. I hate show jumping warmups, they scare me so much I avoid them like the plague. So Show Hunter was just kind of a natural sort of stepping stone for me to get my confidence built up with him.



Yeah, so we jumped in really green having no idea what Show Hunter was, what the rules were. We entered so many wrong classes and were told we had to change them and everything so it was a big learning curve. He's done really well, I think we've placed in nearly every round that we've kept all the jumps up



I can imagine you have this beautiful event stride and yeah, jumps just come to him. And because he's so black and striking he'd look so beautiful out there.



Yeah, when I, when we first got him, I would never let him out of my sight because nearly every person I would see would come up and say I'm gonna steal your horse and take him on my truck. And it's like, no, never.



Did you learn to jump with Cisco? Had you jumped much before him?



I had jumped beforehand, like done lots of nothing bigger than 80 centimeters, just cruising along just getting by with what I could do at ponies but never being confident. So as soon as a horse did something funny or took off on me, it was just that was the end of it for me. So I did do show jumping, but nothing. Not until I got Cisco anyway.



So you bought him as a dressage horse. Were you interested in dressage at the time and then because he could jump and you were having a bit of fun you thought oh, I might just try show hunter rounds.



So I had a little pony. My last pony that I had was very, he was very spooky, like he would jump everything, but it would take a couple times to turn them to do the jump and I've had him bolt on me on cross country courses and things but he was the most amazing dressage horse. My last show on him, I pulled him out of the paddock. He had been sitting in the paddock for probably four months, and I pulled him out of the paddock because Cisco went lame to do an ODE for Pony Club as a teams event. And as soon as he went into the dressage arena, he just collects himself and just becomes proud. So he was he was something special.



He was amazing but yeah, he was not confident in showjumping though, so I lost all of my confidence for that. I wanted to do dressage mainly, we started off doing really well. I think we've done quite a few level three on Cisco, level three tests. But yeah, then we started doing a little bit more Pony Club, I would always call our rounds demolition derbies.



Cisco wasn't very good at picking his feet up properly, would never stop at anything and not look like he was going to stop, and never rushes into anything, but just could not for the life of him figure out how to move his feet up above the poles. We got our confidence, did lots and lots and lots of low level stuff. The highest I think I've jumped on him is about 1:40m as a single jump. I think the highest that jump before that 1:40m jump was 1:05m. So it was a little bit of a stepping stone.



Yeah, never again.  I've done it once, I don't have to do it again.



Yeah, you've proved yourself now.  Can you share a couple of highlights or funny moments from your time at Cisco?



Oh, honestly, every every time I go out and see him as a highlight and funny moment. He's really is just a goober. He just loves all your attention, he sticks his head through my car window as I pull up next to him (because he's on our driveway), he sticks his head in and starts licking my steering wheel. He does lots of funny things just all the time, he definitely is a character.



He's saved me quite a few times in the show jumping. So we've competed down at Cambridge for the North Island Showjumping Champs for Pony Club. And it was my first and only time I'd ever been. My first round was absolutely shocking.  I think it was a double and then another upright straight afterwards, with a few strides in between. I lost my stirrup over the first of the double. And he managed to somehow slow right down, almost to a stop so that I could get my stirrup back before the next jump, jump the next one clear and then jump the last one perfect as well and carried on as if nothing had happened. So he's very clever. Even if he does take a few rails every now and then.



Yes, there any favorite memories that you have of him? I mean, he knows he's still around.



Probably just going out and sitting because he loves his shed. So he's got it in his paddock. He's got a shed that he can walk in and out of whenever he wants to. And we made quite a wide bench in there dividing the two paddocks and the two sheds together. I've loved just going and sitting there and he'll stand in there. It's perfect on a summer's day, just sitting there enjoying a bit of shade together.



How long have you had him for? How old is he now?



We've had him for seven years. So he's just had his 18th birthday. Well, he'll be coming up 18 in October, just gone from the August horses birthday.



What's been your greatest accomplishment other than the 1:40m jump. I mean, that's a pretty good accomplishment. I'd have to say.



My accomplishments with him have just been, he's just helped me get my confidence. I went from just doing dressage to now I look forward to doing cross country and going on beach rides and being in wide open spaces. I'm still nervous in groups, but we're getting there.



If you could name one gift that he's brought to your life, I know you've just highlighted what he has bought to your life, what would that be?



Being able to laugh at myself. I am a very serious person and I hate missing up. I hate doing things wrong. But with him and his demolition derbies you had to learn to not get so upset when you're going out and competing and things just don't go the right way.



So now you'll quite often hear me if I'm out riding home, you'll hear me laughing away and just enjoying everything even if I have knocked something down. I don't get upset with myself anymore. I just laugh it off and keep going. It's definitely the biggest gift that he's given me. Being able to laugh at myself, just have some fun and be confident and what I do.



I created a Horseshoe Memento from one of Cisco's shoes, what inspired you to get it?



I'd been waiting for a very long time saving up my pennies to try and get one because I'd come across your Facebook page. I just loved everything. I tried to make my own a few years beforehand. It turned out all right, but it wasn't anything that flash. So I'd seen yours and I've just been saving up for it. And I actually won your Christmas giveaway for a horseshoe. And I upgraded it to a gold one because he's my golden boy.



I bet you were surprised when you won.



I definitely was, I never win competitions. It's definitely been the best competition to win.



Where do you keep it? And what does it mean to you?



It sits right beside my bed on my little dressing table. It means so much to me. He is like I said, he's my golden boy. I know that I've got a piece of him for even when he does...like he's still going strong right now. He acts like a two year old but I know I've got something of him forever.  I just can't describe how much it means to me really.



And then I recently did a chrome Horseshoe Memento for you.  You and your friend got in touch, well you got in touch but it was an idea that you had with your friend can you share about that?



So me and my friend have been going to Pony Club together for a while, since we first started going. And actually my Mum and her Mum went to the same Pony Club as well. So we've all been at Albertland Pony Club, there's a lot of family history there for us.



We wanted to leave something behind to you know, keep our names in there. My Mum's donated trophies, her Mum's donated a trophy. So it's just something nice that we could put our own names on for Albertland.



The horseshoe that you made for us, I've tacked it to a tree stump that Dad's had sitting at the top of the shed for ages. He was always going to do something with it. But it looks nice now. It's a Show Hunter trophy. It's made from Cisco shoe again. And yeah, it's just something we wanted something to be a little bit different and have something that's stood out a little bit more.



There'll be a link in the show notes to a photo of it. You've got to see it. It's so cool. I love it. It's hard to describe, isn't it with the shoe that's been nailed on with horseshoe nail to this beautiful tree stump. And it's been oiled. It's gorgeous. So anyway, we'll share a photo of that in the in the show notes. Does the Pony Club know yet about the trophy?



Yeah, I've actually presented it for the last two years, even though I hadn't had the trophy. The first year I used Cisco's original shoe that I got done by you, his gold shoe. I use that to present and then I used the proper chrome horseshoes this year.



That's lovely. Did your friend and you present together?



Yes. So the first year I presented it because she was away. I think she was away competing. And then the second year, we presented it but she actually won it. It was a little bit like, here's a trophy, but it's mine.



What did they say? Like when they first when they saw the shoe that you've had done, and you obviously described to them what you're going to do with it, and how you were going to create the trophy. What did they say?



Oh, everyone was just amazed by the shoe. I've just had so many compliments about it. And it's just, it's so beautifully done. It's amazing. But yeah, it turned out so amazing from what my first idea was that I had. And I'm just so glad that you could be part of that as well. And thank you so much it's really beautiful.



You're welcome. It's been really fun working with you and to be a part of that lovely process. And I think the trophy is so cool. What's equestrian life like for you at the moment, Jade?



Since being at uni, I haven't been riding as much as I probably should be. Cisco has become a little bit of a paddock ornament, unless my sister's been riding him. She's a little bit more competitive than me, so she actually likes to get out there and do things and is a little bit more motivated than what I am. But I've always been really into photography. Over the last few years, I've been trying to get out there and do a little bit more portraiture with you and your equine partner. I've been doing lots of lots of photography.



And Cisco has been a great model for you.



Well, actually, he has, he's beautiful, but he is a pain. Every time you lift the camera his ears go back, then you drop the camera and he sticks his ears forward. And he just, he does not cooperate very well. It's good that he's pretty because when I do get a good photo, it's a stunning photo of him.



So have you been using your sister and one of her horses have you?



Yeah, and my Mum and her horse.  Mum's got, we've got matching ponies. Me and Mum have...Mum also has a big Clyde X that is very similar to Cisco. He has a bigger blaze than Cisco's and he's a little bit more Clyde and a bit more hairy. And then my sister's got two paints that look exactly the same. One's a pony and one's a hack.



So you've definitely got the types that you like.



Yeah, can tell our favorite types.



How can people follow you with your equine photography?



So I'm on Instagram, @jademarshall_photography. And I'm also on Facebook, @jademarshallequinephotography My website is https://www.jademarshallphotography.com/



Tell us where you're based.



I'm based an hour north of Auckland, halfway between Auckland and Whangarei.



What inspired you to get into photography? Is that what you're studying at uni?



No, I'm actually studying mathematics and accounting at university.  I took this year off, thanks to COVID and all that sort of stuff. It's just much easier than having to struggle through like a lot of my friends are. I'll be going back next year.



Mathematics. I take my hat off to you. Gosh, I studied marketing and in our first year we had to take a maths paper. It was called QUAN101. And everybody dreaded it, everybody! I think it was the most failed paper at Otago in the first year. And it was like I was studying Japanese. Honestly. I had no idea. Second time round, the formulas finally clicked, and it was fine. But um, yeah. The first time around, I was like, what am I doing!



And so in terms of what you want to do, once you've finished your degree, do you think you'll go down the maths route? Or do you think you'll go down photography?  What do you think you'll do?



I would love to do photography full-time. Yeah, but it's a bit hit and miss photography,  especially with horses as you only have the summer and then you've got winter. But I would also love to...the reason why I was studying mathematics is because I wanted to teach maths at Secondary level.



What photography training have you done, or what courses have you done?



I'm all self taught. I've done a few little weekend, photography courses and workshops and things like that. But it's basically just been me fiddling with my camera, really just learning what I like and what I don't like. I'm very creative, but I can't draw at all. So photography is the next best thing really.



Capturing the images instead of drawing them.



Yes, definitely.



Did you go out to one of Kelly Wilson's photography camps?



Yes, I did her first one that she did last year. So she's just completed his second one now. I unfortunately couldn't quite get there this time, but hopefully I'll get to go to another one in the future if she holds some more. But it was amazing. Yeah, I learned so much.



It was good because it was the first equestrian photography related course that I'd done. Everything else has been for people or real estate. And I had to just kind of figure out the whole horses thing by myself. So, no, it was good to learn how to actually capture the horses in the best possible way that you can and all the angles and the right timing and things. It was awesome.



Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It's been so fun meeting you. I look forward to following along with your photography and seeing what you get up to. I wish you all the best with Cisco. I think that he's gorgeous.



Thank you so much.



There we have it. I love how horses can teach us so much like for Jade to not take yourself too seriously. And learning to find your riding confidence again with the safety of gorgeous goober, Cisco. They are Jade's words, not mine.



If you're interested in following Jade's equestrian photography journey, there'll be a link in the show notes to her Instagram and Facebook accounts. The link to Jade and Cisco's show notes is www.horseshoemementoes.com/blogs/podcast/8  Here you'll find photos of Jade and Cisco, as well as the Horseshoe Memento trophy gifted to Albertland Pony Club.



Thanks as always, for listening to The Horseshoe Storyteller Podcast where we believe every horseshoe holds a story.