I was born in 1944, one of four children.
I was the only one animal orientated and I spent all my time at the local riding school until I got my first pony, a 14-2 called Gypsy Moth.
On leaving school at 14 years of age, my father sent me off to be trained with horses for two years. That was the hardest time of my life, I was being taught by a retired army major - enough said.
When I finished the course I started to work for my living working in different stable yards. I worked with hunters, racehorses, show ponies and studs. During this time I realized it was the breeding and producing of show ponies that I really wanted to be involved with.
With this aim, I ended up at the Solway Stud in Hampshire owned by Lord and Lady Reiss who bred and produced top class show ponies and show hacks, such as Solway Master Bronze, Solway North Winds and Solway Solario, who went on to be a top class show hack, and also looked after such great brood mares as Cribbon Biddy Bronze, Tara, Coronation Cottage and many more.
When the stud moved to Ireland, I made the mistake of not going with them and came home to work in the family business – filling stations and car repair garages. That was the start of my next adventure; swapping four legs for four wheels when I started Motor Rallying. I bought my first Mini Cooper S, had it done up for rallying, got a petrol company to sponsor me and off we went! After a few expensive lessons on how not to end upside down in a ditch in the middle of nowhere I soon got the hang of it!
I met my husband at the end of this adventure, Allan, and guess what - he was a horse dealer and back I went to the four-legged transport.
At this time I bought my first dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and the LESALL affix was born. I have had Cavaliers for thirty years now and stopped showing them ten years ago.
Then came a little blue bundle, which my son brought home at six weeks old. I asked him what it was “It's a Neapolitan Mastiff,” he said, as if I should know. I had never heard of the breed let alone seen one.
So off we go to get books on the breed and, oh boy, was I in for an education and the Cavaliers in for a shock. After a few years, and a few more Neos, I wish I had come into this breed 10 years earlier. They are not for the faint hearted, or house-proud, especially if you like watching TV with added features on the screen.
Unfortunately, this breed does get into the wrong hands, breeding goes awry with crossbreeds, no papers and give away prices. Hence the Neapolitan Mastiff Welfare has the hard task of finding homes for these unfortunate dogs with very limited funds.
So please think hard and long before you buy one, is it the dog for you? Do you have the room and time? Especially the time.
Ensure you buy from a reputable breeder and see the mother of the pups, and the father, if possible. Do not buy from the boot of a car.