British eventer Tom McEwen rode part of a cross-country round at Oasby (1) last Friday (6 March) with his martingale in his mouth – and went on to finish second in his section.
Tom was riding Barbara Cooper’s grey Dreamaway II in open intermediate section I when the martingale attachment came free from where it clips onto the breastplate on the horse’s chest.
“It probably wasn’t put on properly and it just popped off at the chest,” Tom told H&H. “Then it got caught on something and it was tying him in, so I undid the reins and took it all apart as I was going along.”
Having freed the strap, Tom decided he didn’t want to risk losing it.
He explained: “I couldn’t find anywhere to clip it on where it wasn’t going to smack me or the horse, but I didn’t want to drop it because I’m a bit tight! I thought I’d take it back with me, so I had it in my hand and then in my mouth. I needed two hands on the reins, because I couldn’t get the reins done up again after I undid them.”
Despite these antics, Tom managed to finish with just 4.4 time-faults and take second in the section behind Piggy March (née French) and Brookfield Quality.
“I didn’t race him and we just had a nice round,” said Tom, who was a world team gold medallist for Great Britain at Tryon in 2018 and achieved his first CCI5* win at Pau last year on his top horse, Toledo De Kerser.
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The nine-year-old Dreamaway, who Tom described as “awesome”, won the British intermediate championship at Gatcombe last year and was second in the eight- and nine-year-old CCI4*-S at Blenheim. His next run will be at the new event at Thoresby, where he is entered for the CCI3*-S.
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