Denman is “loving his hunting” and settling in well to his new career, his rider Charlotte Alexander has told H&H.
This season the 14-year-old has really got to grips with his new sport and is proving a popular sight on the hunting field, flying over hedges and ditches.
“He is now beginning to settle and although he does get claustrophobia in a crowd — and can then rear and leap into the air — he is becoming much more relaxed,” Charlotte said.
“He loves jumping, and in particular hedges which he flies over, and the feeling he gives me is second to none.
“I find it humbling how many people come up to me out hunting and ask if it really is Denman. They are utterly delighted to see him and particularly if he gives them a good lead over a hedge. He has a huge amount of fans.”
She added that he is getting much more accurate over rails — which she credits her trainers Brian Hutton, Owen Moore and Anne Marie Taylor for.
The winner of the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup has made a remarkable recovery after his illness last year. Denman spent five months in equine hospital after contracting a potentially fatal blood and bone infection. But now he’s back to his old self.
“A year ago I never thought that Denman would be able to do what he is doing now,” added Charlotte.
“He has taken ages to build up strength and muscle and he is now progressing in leaps and bounds. He is such a happy horse and it is incredible that he is able to leap across the country as he does. He is like a spitfire, quick, exciting and beautiful.”
All being well Denman is shortly due to return to Ditcheat in Somerset to have a day’s hunting from his old home. Charlotte is looking forward to Denman’s former trainer Paul Nicholls seeing the horse’s progress in his second career.
“I can’t wait,” she said. “I am such a lucky girl to be able to ride a horse as incredible as Denman. He is exhilarating.”