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Tales from the H&H Festival of dressage: ‘He was going to the meat man’

A pony who was destined for the meat man is proving his worth between the whiteboards at his first ever dressage festival.

Charlotte Cooper bought the now 10-year-old registered Connemara gelding Kildromin Sir five years ago from a dealer after seeing an advert for him.

“I liked the pictures of him so went to see him, but he was nothing like what they put in the advert,” said Charlotte.

“They told me he was great to hack but I rode him up the road and he started rearing and spinning. He’d never had a rug on before and hadn’t been in a trailer. He was also covered in cuts because he’d been turned out with about 100 others.

“They told me that if he wasn’t sold he’d go to the meat man, so I bought him.”

“Finley” had been brought over from Ireland having been used as a hunt hireling and had lost confidence, but with patience and perseverance, he’s turned into a super pony.

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“When I put my foot in the stirrup to get on him, he’d panic and try and run off, so I had to spend ages getting him happy being mounted, and although he still has his moments, he’s much better now,” added Charlotte who works in a chip shop and grooms for dressage rider Anna Bostrand-Daly.

“He’s a fantastic hunter and we do working hunter classes when we’re not hunting with the West Norfolk Foxhounds. He was reserve champion working hunter pony at Equifest last year and will jump gates and ditches all day out hunting, but as soon as he sees a coloured pole or filler, his world falls apart. He can be quirky like that.

“I don’t normally do dressage, only at work when I’m riding Anna’s horses because I don’t have any facilities at home, but as this was so close and had music classes, I thought I’d give it a go.”

The pair is competing in the novice championship and freestyle to music classes at the Horse & Hound Festival of Dressage.

“The festival is really awesome and there’s a super feel to it,” smiled Charlotte. “Everyone is so friendly and chilled out and everything is easy to find. It’s very different to showing!”

Don’t miss the latest news and updates on the H&H Festival of Dressage on the Horse & Hound website and social media channels, plus a full report in the 3 August issue of the magazine.

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