Tales from Hartpury: ‘He was so wicked I had to ride him on the lead-rein’

  • Ann Staines and the snaffle-mouthed Royal Standard led the Petplan Equine Inter II Silver Area Festival final on 64.74%, before also contesting the Superflex Inter I freestyle during Saturday’s gala evening.

    “He goes better in a snaffle,” said Ann, who was actually eliminated last year in same final she won this time round.

    “He felt amazing in the evening gala. He was bit tired but he came through so I’m delighted.

    “I’ve had him for eight years and he certainly hasn’t been the easiest horse. When I went to try him, I was told all that he does is reverse into the jump cupboard. When I saw him I noticed his amazing walk and canter but he had an awfully tight trot.

    “He was so naughty, I could barely ride him and we had to go out hacking on a lead-rein,” added Ann of the Rubin Royal son. “He would trot along and then just stop and spin. He’s taken us up and down the muck-up heap — he was really wicked.

    Ann, who works full-time in A&E, trains with Conrad Schumacher and is in her first season at inter II with the former bad boy, who has started to compete at grand prix.

    Ann really started to notice a difference after starting to have lessons with Conrad.

    “He taught me to really think about the horse,” she continued. “We have actually worked out that he goes better with less working in — he does a 20 minute walk and a quick warm up, then goes back to his box, and before the test I literally give him 10 minutes — this seems to work so much better for us. I used to think I had to ride him for ages but he was just getting tired and that made his behaviour worse.

    “To compete and hold our own against some absolutely top class horses here is amazing. I don’t mind what the judges say, I’m so proud of him.”


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