Road to RIHS: Home-producer finally set to have dream Hickstead ride after having HOYS disappointment…

A home-producer had her dreams come true at Staffordshire County show when she qualified her home-bred maxi cob Parkhall Prince Charming (Mack) for the 2019 Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).

Natasha Dolmans showing dreams almost came true before when she qualified for the SEIB Search for a Star finals. But sadly, her hopes were dashed when the gelding was unable to attend the final held at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

Mack is most definitely my horse of a lifetime,” says Natasha. “Since I can remember, all I have ever wanted to do was to qualify for and ride at HOYS and the RIHS.

“Back in May 2016, we qualified for the SEIB Search For A Star cob championship, which I was in total disbelief about; I couldn’t stop crying! But sadly, Mack went lame with a large foot abscess just two days before the final at the NEC.

“The following year in April 2017, we managed to qualify for the second time, gaining our ticket to the 2017 final. Just my luck, Mack some how managed to damage his tendon sheath, which didn’t cause lameness, but swelling around the back of the leg. This required box rest to heal and I thought our fate was sealed for yet another year. I was slightly hardened to at this point!

“He had weeks and weeks of box rest, then was gradually introduced him to walking on a flat surfaces. I started walking him up and down the road, gradually increasing the time and length walked each time. I did wonder how an earth we had managed to be so unlucky! He completed his rehab programme, and we had only been in a ménage three times for 10 minutes each time before we made the decision to go to HOYS.

“Despite everything we made it and were placed third. My next goal was to qualify for the RIHS.

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“I can’t believe that we have managed to do so not only in the open class, but in our first affiliated season. Mack is one in a million and tries so very hard to please. I found nothing else more rewarding than watching him be born, grow, learn, and mature into the horse he is today. I’m very proud of everything we have achieved together, and I cannot wait for our first RIHS at Hickstead in just a few weeks time.”

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