The adventures of Hero, Heidi and Hobday: I’ve cried almost every day — it is heart-wrenching

  • I (Heidi, or Aberllanerch High Tide) have been really confused. The vet came out and spent hours scanning, X-raying and checking me all over. I thought maybe Ben wanted to see if I was in tip-top condition as we’ve been eventing so much. I felt fantastic though and showed her my beautiful paces and behaved impeccably. I really remembered my manners and didn’t headbutt or nibble her hair once, although I was very tempted but I refrained as Mulry told me humans think it quite rude. I’m not sure if that’s right though as Hero always rests her head under my muzzle and lets me nibble and chew her blond locks. I didn’t realise at the time but I was having a vetting and my life was about to completely change.

    I was very excited as Hero was coming to Burgham International Horse Trails to watch my two-star competition. I was determined to do well and beat my eighth rosette from the two-star at Mallow and get an even lower dressage score. However the judge had different ideas and even though everyone thought I’d done my best test to date, I got over 50 which was super annoying. Still, Hero was there cheering me on and feeding me treats that she’d bought with her.

    I also had a great surprise as my best giant friend Dante VII (he’s 18.2hh) was there being ridden by Tim Cheffings in the three-star. He is such a talented horse and is owned by Hero’s cousin Poppy. Funny how all these very young owners work all hours to give their horses the best opportunities.

    Dante VII has potential to burn but doesn’t focus until the tracks are really big. We all believe once he gets to advanced he’ll fly. Tim won the Mark Todd bridging the gap scholarship and even Mark thinks Dante is one to watch. However to me he’s just cousin Big Ears and it was great to catch up albeit it briefly as we rushed around the competition.

    Ben and Heidi at Burgham

    I did a nice double clear but only got placed 14th this time. I was back on the lorry in all my new snazzy kit that Ben keeps giving me for doing well. Hero came to see me. She ducked under all the other horses to make her way to me. I was a bit surprised as she wasn’t her happy self and clung on to my neck like a limpet and stifled the noise of her howls in my mane. I knew she was going to say something very bad and could just make out between sobs that she was selling me. She said it was to someone who could afford to give me all the opportunities to succeed. She said she loved me with all her heart and would never love a horse as much ever again. She said that I have a real chance of success and she can’t afford to pay the bills to keep me competing at such a high level and so has let me go so that I can have every chance to do well. She said she’d be there watching from the sidelines of my competitions rooting for me. I tried to hold her with my neck so she couldn’t escape but she gave me a last kiss said I love you and ran away.

    Hero — trying to make the right decisions

    I (Hero) have cried buckets but I am trying to be strong and make the right decisions. I am incredibly lucky as I’ve made the grades to take up my place to study at Oxford and very soon will move into Christ Church College.


    However with this new chapter unfolding has come the agonising dilemma that faces many riders my age who are about to go to university. What to do with their horse? I know the reality is that I am going to work harder than ever before and I can’t do that and keep riding competitively. It’s very painful but the reality is that it’s time to take a gap from riding and my horsey obsession.

    I have taken the agonising step of selling Heidi. She is too talented to wait in a field for me to ride in the holidays. I believe in her far too much for that and so suddenly the time came to say goodbye. I have cried almost every day since this heart-wrenching sale. I feel pathetic sitting on my bed looking at the wall to wall photos of my beautiful girl Heidi.

    She is more than a horse to me. She is the rock that has been there in life’s bleak moments. I have healed a broken heart riding through the forest on her back. I’ve sobbed on her stable floor when hiding from arguments with friends or family. We’ve won so many red rosettes, cups and sashes that they cover every shelf in our house.

    Heidi and Hero (second from right) at the Riding Club national championships in 2015

    She is such a star horse and to me my darling Heidi is the best 15.2hh Welsh part-bred there will ever be. She was sixth last weekend in the open intermediate at Dalkeith and I’m going to be there at the CIC3* at Blenheim that she is entered into in a few weeks, cheering her and Ben on. I will still be terrified and praying that they both come home safe.

    Continued below…

    I feel unbelievably sad that she is no longer my horse, but I’m sure her new owner will love her just as much as me. I will proudly watch and be there cheering her and Ben on at as many events as I can get to. I feel I need to get to uni before I can take any decisions about possible horse ventures with Ben and so for now I’m keeping everything on hold until I’m settled in at Christ Church.

    Bye-bye and thanks for reading my blogs.
    Hero xxx

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