Tales from Hickstead: Rider overcomes debilitating anxiety to qualify for the Royal International

  • DESPITE suffering from crippling anxiety, Cally Humphrey’s held her nerve to qualify her coloured pony Fouche’s Wizard of Oz for the BSPA Small traditional/native pony class at the Royal International Horse Show in their first affiliated season.

    “I suffer with health anxiety, and during the pandemic, I spent the majority of the time isolating, and wouldn’t even go to the shops,” explained Cally. “A lot of my anxiety is to do with food and touching surfaces and being near people, but when I’m on ‘Ozzie’ I forget everything and am focused and happy. He is my confidence and he distracts me from my anxiety.”

    Cally has owned Ozzie since he was an unbroken three-year-old, backing and producing him herself.

    “He’s been nothing but a little devil,” she said. “I’ve had years of battles with him from grade four ulcers which we now manage through his diet, to being cold backed. He also retained a testicle as a youngster and had to be operated on by Redwing’s surgeons; the list is endless.

    “He was so naughty we had him investigated for kissing spines, but the vet basically told me a lot of his issues were in his mind.”

    Cally spent a lot of time gaining the pony’s trust, and he is now confident and happy.

    This year, she decided to take Ozzie affiliated showing for the first time and despite everything, they qualified for the RIHS.

    “In the last year he’s finally turned his hoof the right way,” she said. “I absolutely adore this pony and he’s made a dream come true. Although we weren’t placed in our class on Tuesday, I was over the moon just to be there and cried the whole way round the ring. It was an amazing achievement for both of us.”

    Cally hopes to continue showing Ozzie for years to come and aim for Horse of the Year Show qualifiers.

    “He’s my godsend and has been my therapy over the last year or so,” said Cally. “He is the happiest of ponies now and is worth his weight in gold to me.”

    You might also like…

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...