Meet the dancing part-bred Trotter who is proving heart can beat genetics…

  • There are several things you could possibly picture when asked to imagine ‘the perfect dressage horse’ — and they probably don’t include a 20-year-old pacer-bred gelding…

    But one talented chap is defying the dressage norm. Humbug II, a charming piebald who is owned by Joan Price, was crowned prelim bronze champion at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships held at Hartpury College (3 — 7 April) with a cracking score of 72.08%.

    His rider was finance advisor Joe Davey, who was emotional after his win.

    “He’s actually everything you wouldn’t want in a dressage horse,” says Joe, who has ridden Humbug for three years and has established a great partnership with him. “He didn’t even learn to canter until he was 18.”

    There is little known about Humbug’s breeding, apart from the fact that he is out of a trotter mare. Prior to being owned by Joan he had a leisurely life.

    “I felt like I was waterskiing during my test,” said Joe. “It must have looked better than it felt! What he might lack for in ability, he makes up for in heart. He hasn’t got a malicious bone in his body and he tries so hard.”

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    While he might not necessarily be bred for a career in dressage, Humbug ensured Joe left his first nationals with a sash and coveted Petplan Equine rug.

    Joe continues: “He’s got a great jump so I’ve been using this to help his canter, which he finds hard; he tries to ‘tranter’ and doesn’t understand why he has to use his back legs like that. He’s gradually got stronger and more confident, and we’re working on some novice stuff now.”

    Don’t miss 11 April issue of Horse & Hound magazine for 12 pages of reports from the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships and the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships

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