Category Archives: Horse Breeding

Royal Diva Diary: 4 months old photo update

ROYAL DIVA, born May 2017, AES Dam: Tilly (Irish cob), Sire: Royaldik (OLD)


screen-shot-2017-10-11-at-11-46-54.pngDiva 2Foal in the field


This is one of my favourite photo taken by Becky Bunce on the day of this photoshoot. Something touching in this image of a foal that is about to be weaned soon, standing seemingly alone, looking ahead, so close to full independence. Yet, the mare is there right behind her, always watchful and always ready to protect her offspring.


Until next update 🙂

Breeding my horse of a lifetime: Nine minutes with Royal Diva – from heartbeat to 6 weeks old [VIDEO]

Diva being a diva
Diva walking Kelly back to her car in style 😉 4th July 2017.

The youngest Academy super star mascot, Royal Diva, is 6 weeks old and growing by day. She shed her first frogs and her foal coat is slowly shedding too leaving her face slightly moth eaten in appearance 😉

She has learnt to lead for short periods of time, pick her feet up, got acquainted with an overnight stabling, learnt to eat grass and come to call 😉 You can watch her giving Kelly a welcome HERE.  Her hooves are changing as her diet is expanding and you can see the deeper rings marking her date of birth now clearly growing down.

For most part, she leads a quiet life interspersed with short moments of human visits couple of times a day.

She’s feisty at times but overall appears to have a nice, inquisitive, confident level temperament, loves people and thrives on scratches 😉 Tilly is a fabulous Mum leaving Diva plenty of space to explore and has lost some of her constant protectiveness she showed at the beginning.


The little filly is oh so alive and such a personality and yet, exactly a year ago, on 5th July 2016, Diva was nothing more than a confirmed heartbeat on the vet’s monitor.

The video below will take you on a nine minutes long emotional journey that might make you want to breed your own little diva! You’ve been warned! 😉

Breeding my little horse of a lifetime: 2 weeks on – vet checks, getting to know the foal and choosing the name

By Kelly Hill


My little Tilly and Royaldik baby will be two weeks tomorrow. I didn’t expect her to be so pretty! Even though I hoped for the bay filly, I would have been happy with any colour by the end. I had her emergency checked at labour by Chess Valley Vets, she had tetanus antitoxin injection and later on my usual vet triple checked her for me, eyes, heart, conformation, gave me pointers on what to look for health wise in the next week or so.

Both the filly and mum are well, Tilly has plenty of milk and even though she was possessive at the beginning, she wasn’t aggressive, just preferred to keep everyone away from the foal. The baby has good conformation, is a nice size and I love her!



It took me a while to chose the name but I settled on Royal Diva, Diva as her stable name. It suited her character but having said that, she will probably have many more names too 😉


She’s very inquisitive, fearless, verging on rude, wants to know everything and everyone.  I think my best experience so far is watching her learn the world, trying to walk and run.



Until next update! 🙂

Breeding My Little Mare of a Lifetime. Part 4: She’s Here!

Royaldik x Tilly – bay filly with three white socks born early morning on the 19th May 2017. 


From Wiola


meeting tillys babyIt’s been such a privilege to see this little foal today. When Tilly and I met for the first time in the early 2006, I had no idea she will play a big part in my life. At the time, she was my working partner. Amazing one, but one of a good few. We taught hundreds of people to ride a few times a week for several years.
Some of these people became life long friends I still keep in touch with.
Tilly and I lost contact for a few years and little did I know we would meet again in 2015, that she would yet again become an invaluable teaching partner to me, that she would bring more wonderful people into my life and make many dreams come true.
Thank you Tilly for fantastic friends and for unforgettable moments.

Kelly Tilly and filly

Thank you Kelly for sharing this incredible journey on here, and thank you Mairi for helping me put it together.

Lots of love xx


Tilly collage1


Read the whole story from choosing the stallion to today: Breeding My Little Horse of a Lifetime 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Kelly Hill, Gemma Hill and Christine Dunnington Photography 

Foal Watch Continues

Warning: This blog post includes images of a mare’s vulva to illustrate normal foaling behaviour.

Tilly 15th May 2017
15th May 2017

Tilly isn’t looking impressed with a beautiful sunrise this morning…

Relaxation of the vulva

– Within the last 24-48 hours before foaling the mares vulva can be observed to swell and relax in preparation to stretching several times it’s normal size to allow passage of the foal. Read more at

Tilly birth signs
Photo on the right is this morning (15th May 2017)

Baby Due Today!

By Wiola Grabowska

Read Tilly’s baby story by Kelly Hill HERE

There seems to be just a few inches between where Tilly’s huge, broad belly ends and the ground starts. She has that tired yet peaceful expression that varies between lightly annoyed with any attention to thoughtfully disinterested.

The due date is today but Kelly says there’s nothing in particular that makes tonight different as far as Tilly’s appearance or labour signs go.

Her pony companion keeps her alert and in fact, the only time when Tilly shows some energetic reaction is when she loses sight of Rosie.

Due today…🐴 #royaldik #horsesofinstagram #royaldikbaby #beautifulevening #horses #mareinfoal #duetoday

A post shared by Wiola Grabowska (@aspireequestrian) on May 13, 2017 at 11:22am PDT


She eats her dinner slowly, deliberately. The sun is warm on her back. The evening is beautiful, calm, filled with bird songs and a fresh breeze. You might say, a perfect evening for a new life to arrive 🙂

For all updates on Tilly’s story see:

Meeting Royaldik, Tilly’s foal sire, at B&W Equine Vets

By Wiola Grabowska

Meet Royaldik, one of the nicest, most easy going stallions I have had a pleasure to encounter (and having spent several years riding out of Polish Stallion Depot in Boguslawice, I have seen and ridden a fair few!).

Chatting about the big man’s likes and dislikes 🙂

If you missed the story of Tilly awaiting her foal to this lovely stallion, check it here: Breeding my little horse of a lifetime by Kelly Hill.

Here are a few photos and a video of Royaldik with Kelly and Anwen from B&W Equine Vets who patiently answered all the questions and shared the stallion’s likes and dislikes with us – thank you!

Royaldik stallion
He sure likes scratches and attention!

We learnt Royaldik likes to eat slowly, his favourite pastime is Bird Watching, he is very inquisitive but polite, loves attention and interaction with people, gives a great feeling in the saddle and is quick on the dummy!

Meanwhile, Tilly is showing clear signs of the end of this waiting game! The small, sugar/salt like looking crystals on her udder are calcium deposits that appear closer to the foaling (although can be seen on non-pregnant mares too). Apparently it’s called ‘sugaring’ and means the birth is close! Tilly’s due date is in 6 days…