Mavericks Story- An extract from 'The Forgotten Falabellas' -   This is about the first Falabellas imported into the UK

This story was written by Sharon Packer of Merrylegs Falabella stud in France It is the original version and was extracted from the forgotten Falabellas which was also written by myself. 

So where does the story start? - It didn't start when I bought the horse, in fact it didn't actually start until some 4 years later when the Internet was big and bold and just brimming with information.


It was then that people had started DNA testing their Falabellas , tracing their pedigrees, and that's just what happened. One day I realised that Maverick - (he's in Norway now ) must be tested but the more I traced his pedigree back the less I could find. Could it be that he wasn't a Falabella? - where did these strange ancestors come from? - and why did every lead in his pedigree end in a totally dead end. Not at the Falabella ranch as I expected but a total dead end! The horses concerned had strangely normal names like Vicky, Frederick, Georgina,Johnny and Perky.

 Luckily I had a friend who wasn't one to give up and as she had a half sister of Maverick she had a bit of an incentive to uncover even more information. I forget exctly where the big clue came from but I think it was on one of the original copies of an FMHA registration, for Frederick in fact it mentioned the breeder as being a C. Marler, and even gave the address that he lived at. Now this was years ago, in 1989 in fact.

It was a total miracle when she finally managed to contact this person who turned out to be Christopher, the husband of the lady who imported the first Falabellas ever into Europe. No she wasn't Lady Fisher, indeed not! She was simply 'Mrs Marler', and here is a shortened version of her story and the first Falabellas imported in to the UK . I call them the Forgotten Falabellas because everyone knows about the Gettysburg horses, and think that most of the English horses were from those origins. If not they must be from the Lady Fisher 'Falabellas'. But the Marler Falabellas were forgotten.... 

This is a summary of the story of the 'Little horses' as first told by Shirley Marler 

In 1965 Shirley Marler read with fascination an article in a Sunday newspaper about 'Little horses' . She felt so intrigued that she just had to import some of these amazing animals. Shirley was in luck as she had good friends living in Buenos Aires at the time who were experts in horses and had in fact selected President Kennedy's horses for him. While her friends were selecting the horses from the ranch Shirley set about finding out more about these little horses. She discovered that they roamed the pampas on Senior Falabellas ranch and they were never wormed, fed or bred by hand, and when they were needed to ride or drive they were taken from the pampas and being such a gentle natured animal, were quick to learn and become domesticated. They resembled horses but were miniature versions.

Meanwhile Shirley's friends selected 3 horses for her. The stallion was bay with black spots, one mare was dark grey with black spots and the other skewbald. 


 Blackbird_Perky_MrsSkew_April1965_smallIt was on a sunny afternoon in October 1964 that Shirley finally took her horse box to the London docks to collect her horses. They had traveled very well apparently and had been housed for the entire journey in wooden crates strapped to the deck of the ship. Despite this they weren't the least bit stiff when they were released from their boxes.


The Marlers realised very quickly that each of the horses had a very different character. The stallion was proud, kept his mares in order and stood no nonsense, so he was christened 'Perky' , the little dark mare was shy and timid and looked like a miniature thoroughbred so she was called 'Blackbird' and the skewbald was much less timid but not as nice to look at and was called 'Mrs Skew'. They also discovered that if two legged people kneeled down to talk to the little horses they were much less timid.

 Just a few weeks later an Australian freight company rang. They were on their way from the Argentine to Australia with 2 little horses, and had to break their journey in England as it was such a long journey. Because of this the regulations stated they would have to off load their little horses for 6 months before they could continue their long journey. During this break they found that the mares were both pregnant but the clients in Australia did not want horses in foal so refused to accept them for the next part of their journey. The Australian freight company asked if Shirley wanted to buy the mares. She jumped at the chance and went straight away to the farm in Sussex to see them. 

How amused they were to see 2 little horses with long coats. Shirley's horses had been clipped! And what luck! They were different colours to the other horses. One was chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. They called her 'Lucy', and the other was a piebald, so of course they called her 'Miss Pie'. They soon settled down in their new home. 

foal_Lucy_HOYS_1967_smallShortly after this the Marlers had a phone call from the BBC wanting to go and film these special horses at their new home in Western Underwood. It was a super day and finished off with no problems from their children or the horses! - in fact they were all so good that they were invited to the television studios in Bristol to meet Johnny Morris and Keith Shackleton! Perky and Mrs Skew were picked for this occasion. They behaved very well and despite having 3 rehearsals were very calm and relaxed throughout. 

Lucy at the HOYS in 1967


By the following year it became obvious that the mares were in foal and finally on April 14th Mrs Skew had the first one. Unfortunately this perfect skewbald colt was dead. The following week on 21st April, Lucy produced an adorable chestnut colt. The Marlers continued to keep their horses in their small zoo called Flamingo Gardens in Buckinghamshire. The little horses stayed there in their compact herd and no more Falabellas were ever bred with the original 5 who arrived on the boat so many years ago. Later in 1973 Blackbird produced a skewbald colt called Easter Hero. He is the Grandfather of Maverick and his son Frederick is also Mavericks Grandfather. 

In 2005 I found Maverick in a zoo in the north of England – the zoo was Flamingo Park, nothing to do with the Marlers Flamingo Gardens but strange isn't it how things happen?


Easter Hero Born 1973


Maverick Born 1998