Surprise pony is the perfect gift for Shanti, 7
IT is not every day that a little girl comes home from school to find a pony in her garden.
But Shanti Cooper, who wants to be a riding star when she's older, got the surprise of a lifetime when she came home from St Thomas More School and saw little Jazzy the pony outside her Hester's Way home.
The miniature Shetland pony was bought by her mother Ellen Cruse, 27, as a surprise to encourage seven-year-old Shanti in her hopes to become a professional rider.
Ellen, who is a mother of four, said her oldest daughter had been engrossed with horses since a young age.
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She said: "Shanti always loved horses, and we thought it would be a nice idea to get her a pony.
"We got a twin pony for her cousin, so we thought we would make her day. She came back from school and was just so surprised to see her."
Shanti added: "I was nearly crying. I was so excited when I saw Jazzy."
Ellen had wanted her own horse when she was growing up and started to learn to ride at 11. But she never got her own pony.
Shanti has inherited her mum's love for horses, and starting riding classes two years ago.
Then Ellen decided to treat her daughter.
She said: "I have always loved horses, but I never had one growing up. Now my girl's grown up a bit, I wanted her to have one."
Ellen's mother Maria said: "Now Ellen's got children of her own, it's sweet she's decided to get a pony for Shanti."
The one-year-old pony was bought for about £700 from Camp Farm, in Worcestershire.
She is due to go to the stables on a private farm on Saturday but until then is living in the back garden of her new owner's home and sleeping in the shed, where her family has prepared a bed of hay.
Shanti will have to be patient before riding Jazzy though, as the pony is currently too young.
Both mother and daughter will take Jazzy on walks at the field nearby together, while trying to get Jazzy used walking on the lead.
"We have just fallen in love with her, and she is getting used to the family now," Ellen said.