‘I purchased him against my better judgement’ — how a top showjumper has found a new career

  • A horse with “grumpy tendencies” probably wouldn’t be top of your shopping list when searching for a new four-legged friend. But for Kristy Christopher, she became completely smitten when she went to view Attack II, a former ride of British showjumpers Daniel Neilson (pictured, above) and Amanda Derbyshire, and the unlikely pairing have since gone from strength-to-strength.

    The now 18-year-old gelding (Grandeur x Bonheur) arrived in Dan Neilson’s yard as an eight-year-old having done very little. The pair went on to jump successfully on the international circuit before now US-based Amanda took the reins in 2012, and Attack II helped her to become firmly established on the American circuit.

    According to Kristy, “Archie” as he is known at home, returned to the UK before being purchased by another family who later put him up for sale.

    “I viewed him and my heart ruled my head,” says Kristy. “I purchased him against my better judgement!”

    He was bought originally to showjump with Kristy’s step-daughter.

    “I’d had a serious accident a number of years ago — I was trampled on by a herd of cows — and wasn’t meant to ride again,” explains Kristy. “But this grumpy horse found a way into my heart and I started to ride again.

    Continued below…

    “Knowing I could never jump, we embarked on dressage late last year, something neither of us have ever done. We have since qualified for the area festivals and are moving up to elementary. We had a dressage lesson for the first time last week with Ian Woodhead at Vale View, who seemed to think we could go out and do quite well. Archie adores competing and tries so hard. If he had his time again no doubt could have gone down either path.

    “He is in the twilight of his career now but this horse who has competed all over the world now has new ambitions and it just shows that once one career is over does not mean it is the end of the line. He is most definitely my horse of a lifetime. He is the most grumpy horse on his stable but once he has his tack on and is working he is an absolute dream to ride.”

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