Tales from Hickstead: Intermediate show riding type overcomes EMS to attend third Royal International Horse Show

  • SOPHIE-ANNE CARTMELL thought her showing dreams were over when her beloved intermediate small show riding type Stanley Grange Regal Consort developed equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and laminitis.

    The home-produced nine-year-old part-bred Arab, know at home as Quest, qualified for the Royal International Horse Show’s (RIHS) Pretty Polly Intermediate SRT/SHT championship at BSPS Area 4B in May on only their second attempt.

    “The day Quest came home from 4B, we knew something wasn’t right,” said Sophie-Anne. “He seemed very stiff and just slightly short in walk. We just assumed he was tired from the long day and journey, so we put him to bed and assessed him again later, but he was still the same.”

    The next morning, the vet was called.

    “We had lots of tests done on him and had many vet visits until he was finally diagnosed with EMS and acute laminitis,” said Sophie-Anne. “The amazing Sunday we had getting our ticket seemed a distant memory and we really felt the weight of the world on our shoulders.”

    Sophie-Anne’s hopes of competing at RIHS dwindled, as well as their plans for the entire show season.

    “Since he was just getting more lame as the days went on, we did our best to get on top of it,” said Sophie-Ann. “We soaked his hay, pulled his bed forward so he didn’t have to stand on anything hard and we cut his feed down as much as possible.”

    After five weeks of solid box rest, Sophie-Anne got the go ahead from the vets to start walking him under saddle.

    “He could walk for a week and then increase it slowly, and while we were upping the work, he was allowed turn out in the field to eat with his friends,” explained Sophie-Anne. “I spent a week walking him around the school, then a week of walk and trot and with one week until the Great Yorkshire Show, I was cantering him and doing more work.

    “He has lost some weight, but he still looks amazing. I genuinely didn’t think he was going to make it, so it’s amazing to think we’re on our way.”

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