Hovis’ Friday diary: I basked in the moment

Dear Diary,

So last week I told you about my awe-inspiring Saturday at Belton International Horse Trials, an amazing day of opportunities, indeed a day where dreams were made to come true — I just know it is a day that will stay with Mary King for forever. She is one lucky lady…

After all the top riders had come over to make their case for me to pick them as my future partner, I was taken home on Saturday evening to give me thinking time away from their pleading eyes and cajoling ways. Mother demonstrated that it doesn’t matter that I went from crippled carthorse (her words) to international eventing legend in the space of a few hours, this wasn’t good enough for her and I was left with instructions to “levitate all night” as any dirt on my snow-white feathers would result in “imminent death”. Honestly the woman is unbelievable.

She was in fairness stressed out of her tiny mind convinced that after my escapades with the legend that is Mary King (did I mention we did some cavorting together) that I would be back to being lame the following day. Phiff! Like now I’d got my moment on the stage where I was born to be I was going to wreck it by being lame? Really?! That trick is reserved for avoiding stressage with mother and making her look more sheet white than Casper the friendly ghost every time Herman the German Needle Man arrives to check up on me.

So, the following day I was loaded back up and taken back to hobnob with my true peers. As I walked across the lorry park with mother sobbing quietly behind me as she surveyed the impact of the mud on my feathers I over-heard two young riders standing in the back of a very nice lorry.

“Why is there a carthorse here?” I heard one ask quizzically. Before I could step in to prevent mother ripping her throat out, I then heard the other say “You don’t know who that is? Seriously?! He’s well famous. Didn’t you see him and Mary yesterday? It was awesome!”.

People I was home. Really, I was. I basked in the moment – well for the second I was allowed to, before mother smacked my bum for not looking where I was going and not avoiding a particularly deep puddle. She’s a great leveller is mother…

Anyway, I was most excited as I was meeting a very loyal Hovite who was going to do what so many of the top riders were now dreaming of. In fact, one might say the girl that Mary King had tuned me up ready for (and there’s not many people who can say that!). Abbi had paid a vast amount of money for a chance to ride me back in 2016 at a charity auction for Wilberry the Wonder Pony but due to my annus horriblus (one fractured leg, one cataract surgery and one major abscess – its ok I know I’m amazed by my bravery too) she hadn’t had the chance. So now she was getting it.

It takes a brave girl to get on a horse they don’t know, who hasn’t been out to party in a long time and take them into an arena full of distractions and a lot of people watching. When that horse is the international superstar that only the day before had given Mary King the ride of her life then that takes serious courage. Probably of the Dutch variety if I’m honest…

Abbi came looking excited but faintly terrified and took me over to the warm up arena. Here tens of small ponies belonging to some pony club games teams were tanking about like they’d been on blue smarties all morning. Mother wisely kept silent about my tendencies to join in with such things and made cheerfully encouraging noises about how well Abbi had got me working. After a short practise we rode into the main arena and off we went!

Continued below…

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Now for those of you who’ve seen the video I would like to clear a few things up:

Firstly, that isn’t a spook you see – it’s a high speed demonstration of lateral movement.

Secondly, I was not attempting to buck, I was waving to my new friend Sir Mark Todd who was on the cross-country course. Just with my back legs…

Thirdly the man whose voice you can hear at the end of the video is the amazing Jonty Evans who the day before had come over to see me again. I’d met him on the Saturday and given him some of my top Destroyer tips for the cross country which he followed through admirably. I, of course, take full credit for him and Art doing so well. Hey one night stabled next to me did wonders for Nip and Tuck Shop so it’s only fair I share my wisdom around…

Abbi proved to have a much better seat, much better nerves and a much smaller bum than mother so she’s very welcome to come and have another play when I’m actually fit. This was the Hoverine on quarter power: imagine what I’m capable of when I haven’t had nearly a year off…

So I’m still contemplating my future. I sense I have caused a real stir in the eventing world and that’s why the phone hasn’t rung for Badminton this week. I can see Chris Bartle pouring over options to ensure the fire/ feather power that I could bring to the team is fully maximised. I totally understand these things take time but people – you know where I am.
I await the call



Ps Once again can I just ensure that I thank Mary King, Jonty Evans, Chris Bartle, Ros Canter, Ben Way, Sir Mark Todd and all at Bede Events for making this such a wonderful weekend. As much as I had a ball it was all about helping me to raise money for, and the profile of, the charity Bransby Horses and all involved have helped us massively with this. We are genuinely grateful.

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