Tales from the H&H Festival of Eventing: meet ‘Thug’, the pony enjoying a renaissance

  • Charlotte Cooke is one of the youngest competitors at this year’s H&H Festival of Eventing, run in association with KBIS. At just 11-years-old, the Brentwood School pupil has put in a great performance on her 13.2hh pony, Karlos Fandango in the 80cm class.

    But the 16-year-old roan comes with an interesting stable name — ‘Thug’.

    “He was quite bolshie when we got him two years ago,” explains Charlotte, who is competing at her first three-day event this weekend. “He can open stable doors.”

    Charlotte, who has already gained a lot of experience in the showjumping arena, said Thug, who is a JA jumping pony with over £2,600 in winnings, has only recently turned to eventing.

    “He was a bit of a petrol pony in his former life,” says Charlotte, who now also enjoys day’s hunting with Thug. “He’s a great speed pony, but didn’t have much of a life before outside of the ring. We decided to try eventing to help him relax and enjoy life a bit more and he loves it.”

    Charlotte says she has worked particularly hard on Thug’s flatwork with the help of Leanne Field.

    “He’s never going to lead after the dressage but he’s improved a lot. He used to go round with the wrong bend, but he’s much more balanced now and it has even helped our jumping to improve.”

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    The pair jumped a fantastic double clear in the 80cm class at the H&H Festival of Eventing.

    “He’s a cross-country machine and all I have to do is point him between the flags. Hopefully we’ll have some fun doing some BE80(T) competitions this year and just let him enjoy life.”

    Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk

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