Tales from Hartpury: ‘He was really poorly – we thought we were going to lose him’

  • The winners of the prelim silver under-21 final at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships were a pair of 18-year-olds, Sophie Taylor riding Vision Of Dreams. The “incredible” 14.3hh palomino gelding, who is by Desired Vision, certainly did not look 18 as he busted his moves at Hartpury to finish 4% clear of her rivals with 71.25%.

    The Area Festival Championships title was a very special win for Sophie Taylor, as “Sunny” was her first pony that she has had since she was 12 and has taught her everything she knows.

    “When I got him I honestly fell off at walk – none of us knew what we were doing, and had to be taught how to muck out. He has made me the rider I am today and I owe him the world,” she said.

    Sophie also explained that it “takes a whole team to keep him on the road” and that nothing is spared in keeping Sunny as happy and comfortable as possible as he enters his senior years, especially following a major health scare last year.

    “A lot of work goes into him and it is huge credit to my mum as we could not do it without her,” she said. “He has very strict management. He was really poorly with laminitis last year and we thought we were going to lose him. So now he is on a really strict diet and he hates us for it. He also sees the physio and the chiropractor every six weeks or so, just to keep him ticking over.”

    While Sophie and her family are conscious of not putting too much pressure on Sunny now he is older, “he’s nowhere near ready to be retired,” said Sophie.

    “He’ll go out and probably do a few shows over the summer,” she said. “He doesn’t owe me anything.”

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