AN educational equestrian toy may not sound like it’d be on every child’s Christmas list, but for Karen Clithero, teaching her kids about her beloved horses has turned her from a single mum to a business brain.
Mum-of-six Karen was desperate to give her children the childhood she had, one where every night wasn’t spent in front of a TV or computer screen.
“When my children were very small, a bit too young probably, aged four, three and two, I lived in a two-up, two-down on my own and I was skint. I was brought up with horses and I used to ride every day.
“I thought ‘I’d really like my children to have a try’, and I thought they never would,” said Karen.
Each day when they went to school Karen hand-crafted each piece to make sure every detail was right.
From the stirrup to the bridle. Each part was an exact replica and would teach the children how to handle a horse. Karen also made a stable to house the horse.
On Christmas morning each child had their own pony – and Karen’s dream was complete.
“They played with them for ages but they were too little to use them properly,” said Karen.
But, years – and three more children – later Karen has remarried and her dream has become a fairytale.
“Time has gone by and my husband has worked really hard, and we have managed to get on in life and my children did get horses each.
”We moved to Hebden Bridge and set up a riding school and I’m going to be bringing Crafty Ponies to life.”
Now the kids are older. The six of them – Thomas, Tamzin, Zara, Amy, Joshua and Solomon – span from 10 years old to 25. They all support their mum in her venture over the last two years to bring the toy to life. It brings into any home – whatever the income – an animal many would have discounted. It’s a safe toy that’s easy to put together.
“Anyone can get one,” she said.
Each pony owner gets a full pony complete with a miniature version including everything you would need.
They come with a bridle, grooming brush, head collar, lead rope, numnah and saddle.
The website even contains top tips so users can have riding lessons. There are screens full of “How to” tips and free lessons to teach the difference between each part of the pony.
Riders can even log in to join the Crafty Ponies club to share tips, complete quizzes and become an all-round horse expert.
And any leftover packaging? Well that can be shredded and made into hay.
On top of all that, the ponies are eco-friendly, made and sourced locally and with minimal packages. What’s not to love?