When Rocky retired from eventing, he was destined to return to the Grafton country he had frequented as a youngster. At 24, he is still a regular in the field — when owner Emma Pitt can catch him.

“It is a military operation to catch him — the farrier sometimes has to wait three days,” says Emma.

But when she can, it’s worth it. Although he is a livewire at home — “Bucking, doing flying changes to the field, showing off to passing butterflies” — he is exemplary at a meet.

“He stands still and has beautiful manners; he is soft, light, balanced and eats up the ground, thanks to Pippa’s [Funnell] dedication,” says Emma.

“His jump is awesome, but he is strong and I have to be careful not to overtake the master.”

Although his movement is still eye-catching, not everyone recognises him. Emma remembers a visitor advising her to try eventing him.

“I wasn’t sure what to reply, but a friend told them he had done a bit,” says Emma.

“Then they added double Badminton winner, double European champion!”

To read the full feature about famous hunters, including Gold Cup winner See More Business and Badminton winner Columbus, see the current issue of H&H (20 December 2012)

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