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Road to Olympia: ‘He would jump the partition when the trailer was moving’: Quirky coloured given as Christmas gift to make Olympia debut age 24

A coloured pony who was given to his current owner as a Christmas present has made his connections’ dreams a reality after he qualified for and is set to compete in the SSADL ridden finals at the Olympia, the London International Horse Show next week (16-22 December).

Twenty-four-year-old native gelding Whitaker is owned by Dominique Perry, and their journey to get to the final has not been a smooth ride.

“Whitaker was given to me as a Christmas present by his previous owner,” explains Dominique. “He became really tricky to ride and I seemed to be the only one who was happy to ride him.

“He wouldn’t hack out on his own and he was difficult to load and travel; he would jump the partition when the trailer was moving. He also suffered with bad separation anxiety and would often leap out of the stable to be with his best mate, Lionel.”

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After a lot of patience and dedication to the cause, Dominique finally got Whitaker to her local show at Dipford in Devon. However, the trip was not without incident when the gelding panicked in the ring and bolted back to the lorry park.

“It didn’t deter me,” continues Dominique. “We grew in our partnership and went from strength to strength at each show. Qualifying for Olympia has made my dreams come true.

“We’ve come a long way in 11 years and people are often shocked that Whitaker is 24 as he definitely does not act his age. It just goes to show that special horses are often quirky and need time and patience to get it right.”

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