Horses have always played a big part in my life, from an early age when I was lucky enough to ride at a Saddle Club, through university when I rode Army horses, and then in my 30s I eventually bought myself my first horse. Here is a brief introduction to every horse I have been fortunate enough to own.
I bought Spirit from Tyson Endurance in 2006, as an Intermediate Endurance Horse. From Intermediate, I took Spirit on to Advanced and ERs, our biggest ride to date being FEI 2 Star 119km. Spirit and I have been members of Endurance GB's Senior Development Squad for 3 years, and in 2009 we were selected to be part of the Squad Team competing in Belgium at Mont le Soie. Spirit had a year off endurance in 2010, to recover from a splint. Meanwhile I crewed at home and abroad up to FEI 3 star level for a rider on EGB's World Class Elite Squad. Spirit is returning to competition in 2011.
Hjemdal Lilja (pronounced Lilly-ah) is a Norwegian Fjord Horse mare, by Norwegian Champion Pera Gut, out of my mare Rike. I bought Lilja as a foal at foot, aged 23 months, together with her Dam Rike, from the Hjemdal stud in Aberdeen.
Lilja is very similar to her Dam in temperament, being the dominant horse in the herd. Although she stands a mere 13.2 hh, Lilja is not shy in expressing her opinion on any subject, and I am hoping she will channel this enthusiasm into endurance riding!
Sleipnir is younger full brother to my Fjord mare Hjemdal Lilja, although he stands a good hand higher than Lilja. Sleipnir was born at home in April 2006, and is a firm favourite with everyone he meets! Slei is a calm steady horse with a very kind temperament, taking very much after his Sire, Pera Gut, who was Champion 5 year old Stallion in Norway. I am hoping Slei will make a brilliant driving horse.
Boo is quite an outspoken mare with a natural flair for jumping. When turned out in the summer grazing pasture she can be found jumping Cross Country fences at liberty! Boo has fabulous paces... video footage to follow. I firmly believe Boo will make a very brave, bold, confident eventer (for someone else to ride! Any volunteers?!).
Rike (pronounced Reek-er) is is a 1995 Norwegian Fjord Horse (19th April 1995). Rike is 14 hh. She is graded 'elite' in Sweden (she is an imported mare). Rike won the breed championships every year here in the UK since 2000. She rides and drives.
Rike is very bold, safe but forward going, loves jumping, is totally traffic proof (see photo with tractor running). The only reservation I have about Rike is that very occasionally she does kick when ridden with other horses, so for this reason I chose not to compete Rike at endurance.
I imported Ull-Mi from Sweden as a 5 year old. Ull-Mi is in the Swedish studbook, and has 'diplome', the highest grading they award. She was bred by an official of the Swedish Fjord society. I know I am biased, but Ull-Mi is very pretty! She has the sweetest temperament, and is not a dominant horse. Ull-Mi is a sweetheart to handle and loves people. I did lots of pleasure rides, and three Novice competitive endurance rides (32-34 km) with Ull-Mi. I loved riding her, and she behaves very well. She was more confident in company, happy to lead or follow. A delightful horse!
Oldwick Speedy Lady
Oldwick Speedy Lady - Speedy - is, and always will be my horse-in-a-million. Nothing will ever replace her and I still miss her deeply.
She was bred by Carolyn Bates of Grafham Stud Link. Speedy was TB x ID/Han (by Novelice, out of Maple Hasty). She was a lovely type with the most personable temperament. She really was my horse-in-a-million!
In 2003, Speedy and I together began on the adventure into Endurance. Sadly, Speedy was one ride away from upgrading to Advanced when I retired her in 2005. Speedy also turned her hoof to Dressage (we had a few wins), Show jumping (always double clear, unless I fell off!), Cross Country, Le Trec, Hunting, One Day Events... absolutely everything. Speedy was a genuine school mistress and looked after me - particularly following my accident which left my arm paralysed.
In 2005 Speedy was admitted to a vet's in Newmarket for an arthroscopy. This was routine and confirmed there was no problem; however following surgery a neuropathy was evident. Speedy was ataxic and lame. With treatment the ataxia was completely resolved; however it was clear that Speedy was unlikely to be safely ridden again. On the plus side, there was no conformation/hereditary problem, and Speedy was fine to carry a foal.
Speedy left a lovely filly, Boojum Encounter, as her legacy.