Denise Baldwin

When I decided I wanted to buy a horse I never released what a minefield this would be. Finally having time in my life and the budget to afford one and very importantly a huge space in my heart. I never envisaged how difficult it would be to find my dream horse. I had looked at so many horses but finally found a horse I fell in love with, the most beautiful of all I had seen an Andalusian gelding. Sadly I missed out on this horse but this is where my journey started. I now knew this was the breed horse I wanted but so few were available. I surfed the internet and found Dawns website, emailing her and telling her about myself, my riding ability and how I had fallen in love with this breed but was struggling to find a suitable horse. The next day a return email from Dawn saying

‘Well you have come to the right person’ how true these words were to be!

Following varied emails I went to visit Dawn at her UK home and stables, seeing the Andalusian she had in the UK. From the moment I met Dawn she made me feel I was her most important client, watching me ride she made me so welcome. Sadly on this day the horse I liked had been sold. Dawn told me she brought Andalusian horses in from Spain specifically for clients and also meet clients in Spain to look at horses. Dawn had lived in Spain for a number of years were she had ran a stables in Malaga and formed strong links in the horse industry there and had many contacts. When I left that day again I had no intention of going out to Spain to look for a horse, clearly disappointed at not finding my horse.

Back to square one again I surfed the internet once more, and then the next day made a snap decision and phoned Dawn again she had said she was going to Spain later that month. I simply said ‘Dawn I would like to come to Malaga to look for a horse’ by the next day I had my flight booked for the following week. Dawn from the offset was so organised fitting me around her existing client, sorting a hotel, and car hire (my choice). I had a very specific brief of horse having had a severe riding accident some 20 yrs ago, a calm well mannered horse was essential, and whilst grey horse was not my favourite colour choice, temperament was more important. Over the next week leading up to my visit Dawn was in constant email contact sending me pictures and details of horses that were potentials. I was surprised how quickly horses were snapped up. Dawn explained she dealt with clients all over the world and many relied on her to ride and source horses without even seeing them themselves.

I arrived in Malaga the following week with my partner, Dawn checking to make sure we had arrived safely giving me itinerary for the next few days. The first day was a really full day being picked up after breakfast from our hotel, I was so excited. The first horse was absolutely perfect to ride but I still felt I wanted to see the others – he was a grey but that said he had an amazing temperament but just didn’t feel he was the one. The other horses where not suitable the whole time though Dawn was so supportive she actually got up on the horses after they had been shown and said on one occasion ‘Denise this horse is not for you’ . If mi honest after the first day although enjoying it I didn’t think I was going to find my horse. Dawn when she dropped us off at the end of that say said ‘ I’ve a special yard I taking you to tomorrow and I know Louisa and Alfonso have an Ace card, I told them exactly what your looking for’

The second day I went with Dawn to this yard which was very close, on the way there we were behind a trailer going up a hill near the yard we were visiting, Dawn said’ ahh that’s Alfonso his been to collect some horses he has brought for you to look at’ . I remember seeing the back of two horse in the trailer, one grey and one chestnut, and thinking it would be unreal if one of those was my horse..

What an amazing horse yard who sourced, brought, showed and sold horses internationally all over the world. I meet Louisa who spoke perfect English and Spanish and she showed me all her horses telling me about each horse, following each synopsis with

‘Denise this horse would or would not be suitable to you….or potentially I think this horse is suitable’

When we got to the end of the yard in a covered alcove were the two horses Alfonso had just brought in on the trailer. Both so handsome and patiently waiting there tethered to the wall. I looked at the Chestnut and I know this sounds corny but he seemed to be looking at me too! What a lovely boy he was so friendly as also was his companion the grey (who have to say was stunning). Louisa and her team scanned each horse with a microchip reader and gave me full history on each of them. There were 4-5 horses for me to ride on this day including the two who had just arrived. I asked if I could ride the chestnut first as I just felt so attracted to him. Guapo was saddled up and warmed up then taken into the manage he looked amazing. Dawn said ‘shall I ride him for you first Denise’ – I just so wanted him to be right for me and just didn’t want to get up and be disappointed even though there were others to see, and I think Dawn sensed that, saying you will like him. I rode Guapo and knew after five minutes he was my boy my Guapo, and said I didn’t want to ride any of the others.

Things went like clockwork Louisa arranged a vet check which he passed with flying colours. I have to say a big thank you too the whole team in Spain, Alfonso who is able to source such good horses through contacts he has built up over many years. His son for showing me Guapo’s paces in the riding ring, in the field and on the road with lorries, cyclists vans and cars going past Guapo was totally calm ( someone even stopped to ask directions whilst he was riding him) surely Dawn couldn’t have arranged this trial ! Haha. Lastly Louisa who was simply amazing supporting me whilst I was riding and after answering all my questions and getting all my tack and saddle specifically fitted for my horse to bring back to the UK with him ( love the saddle get so many comments about it already). Louisa also arranged for Guapo to be re-shod and all vaccinations and worming updated prior to him coming to the UK.

Dawn was even involved in transporting my Guapo back to the UK. Throughout Dawn has been so helpful, answering every question, keeping me informed every step of the way, and above all always getting back to me immediately whether by text or email ( and I was in contact continually, Dawn never made me feel I was a nuisance).

My lad is now in the UK at a yard in Surrey being delivered hopefully Monday after a two week interlude (which was asked for by the yard I am using in Essex). Dawn organised for him to stay in Surrey Equine Rehab an exception yard. Poor Dawn professional to the end, can not believe she broke her foot and ankle whilst helping transport the horses back to the UK, and still managing to deliver the horses before sorting out herself!

Words cannot convey how much support, understanding, and above all the professionalism of the service I have received from all involved. I wish you a speedy recovery Dawn.

Denise Baldwin