Tales from Stoneleigh: the gypsy cob who qualified in the nick of time after his rider gave birth

Helen Tegg and her 13.2hh piebald, Pinto IV, had a race against time to be able to qualify and compete at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh (20-23 September). Helen, who hails from Pembrokeshire gave birth to daughter Nina just six months ago.

“I had a C-section and was back riding within eight weeks,” says Helen, who prior to giving birth was a mobile hairdresser.

“We kept saying ‘you cannot ride yet!’” said her brother and trainer Brendan.

“But it was fine getting back into the saddle and so I decided to try and qualify Pinto for the nationals and we somehow managed it,” explains Helen.

Pinto, who is now nine, was bought by Helen five years ago.

“A friend of mine bred him and he was just in the field when I found him. I then broke him in and we did a bit of My Quest dressage last year, winning the final too. He’s a little trier but a lot calmer at home than he is at competitions where he gets quite strong.

“He’s as good as gold to do on the ground and although he’s only small, he really covers the ground — people are always surprised when they stand next to him after seeing his tests as he always looks bigger in the arena.”

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Helen and Pinto finished 10th in the Backinaction prelim silver championship, finishing on a score of 68.678%.

Keep up-to-date with all of the news from the National Dressage Championships by keeping an eye on the Horse & Hound website, and don’t miss the full magazine report, out on Thursday 21 September.

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