Tales from the H&H Festival of Eventing: meet the ‘cocky’ one-eyed gelding

  • Four months ago Stefanie Brewington from Essex thought her 6-year-old gelding Sherlock’s (Imperio C) event career was over following a nasty kick in the field which caused his eye to “explode”.

    The people-loving gelding, who is contesting the Ariat 90cm class at the H&H Festival of Eventing at Keysoe (25 – 27 May), was found by Stefanie’s husband on 7 January with a bloody eye and was rushed to the Royal Veterinary College for surgery.

    “It was really upsetting. There was no damage to the bone structure but his eye had exploded. I backed Sherlock as a three-year-old and I was worried to think all of the hard work and training over two years had been lost,” Stefanie told H&H.

    “He saw an eye specialist but they couldn’t save his eye, there was too much damage. It was removed the next day and three days later he was sent home with an eye patch and looked like Pudsey the bear.”

    Six weeks later Stefanie, who competes in British Eventing, was back on board and said “cocky” Sherlock coped well with the adjustment to one eye.

    “We need to be more aware warming up because people don’t always notice so we need to make sure they don’t get too close. We give him a bit more time coming round corners but generally he has been fine. People sometimes say poor horse when they look at him, but he’s still him he’s fine, we just let him know when we’re coming.

    “We placed ninth at a BE90 at Horseheath in April and have been looking forward to this weekend. Last year I saw the write up about the H&H Festival of Eventing but it was too soon for Sherlock and I thought we’ve got to do that next year. When he lost the eye I wondered if we would make it but it gave us a target to work towards. BE runs all year but this is once a year and I wanted to get him here.”

    Stefanie will go into the cross-country tomorrow (26 May) on a dressage score of 32.25.

    “It was one of his best tests to date,” said a delighted Stefanie, who completed a one-star (now two-star) at South of England for her 40th birthday in 2015.

    “I’m feeling most confident about the showjumping, that’s my favourite part. The cross-country looks tough but I’m sure Sherlock will be fine. Hitting the time can be quite hard as although he’s a massive horse with a massive stride he still needs a bit of setting up being a young horse, and coming round a corner I need to make sure he knows what I’m asking him to do as we can’t wing it round anymore since losing his eye. The target is to come home with a double-clear and no time faults.”

    Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 6 June

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