Road to Olympia: 22-year-old pure-bred Arab mare competes at ‘the big three’

  • At the end of the month, Claire Marriott will be hitting the London Olympia International Horse Show with her home produced Arab mare, to compete in the SSADL ridden veteran finals.

    Her 22-year-old mare, Tukki Amira, is the only one of two pure-breds to have qualified and competed at the three big shows; Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), the Royal International (RIHS) and Olympia.

    “I rode Tukki for her previous owner Stara Holland when she was a five-year-old in 2001 when I was 16-years-old,” said Claire. “We were unbeaten in her first year in the affiliated novice Arab classes. We then went our separate ways until in 2010 when I was visiting a friend who lived near Stara. I got chatting with her again and asked her what she was doing when Tukki’s second foal was weaned. I said I would love to have her back and Stara said I could have her, as she didn’t want to breed any more. Tukki came back to me in the October 2010 and to my delight, Stara very kindly gifted her to me so she was now mine.”

    Claire and Tukki returned to the show ring the following year when the mare was 15. Having not been in the ring since HOYS 2009, the mare returned to contest the open ridden circuit and qualified for the RIHS where she was placed second.

    Claire continued: “We competed at Hickstead again in 2012 and stood eighth and also returned there this year standing fifth in a strong class where Tukki was the oldest horse in the class by far.

    “In 2014 we qualified for Olympia on our very first attempt at Suffolk County Show in the direct route qualifier and we finished 13th at the final. This year we contested one first round qualifier at Newark & Notts County Show where we won, and the one second round qualifier at Bowes County Show in September where we won our class and took the mixed championship to our amazement to book our return ticket.

    Continued below…

    “Tukki is one of the most consistent ridden pure bred Arabs outside of the breed shows and often changes judges’ perceptions of the breed; a lot dislike them and think they are crazy. Anyone who comes across Tukki knows that this is far from what she is. She is the most dependable, loving, polite horse I have ever owned and you can put her in any show ring atmosphere and she will just get on with her job with no fuss. She makes competing at these big prestigious shows so enjoyable as I know I can enjoy every minute of it and that she will look after me. She is without a doubt my horse of a lifetime and best friend.”

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