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Tales from the H&H Festival of Eventing: meet the vet who nearly gave up riding and her special ex-racehorse

Equine vet Jo Gwynne, 29, from Birmingham, who is taking part in the DriRug 70cm class at the H&H Festival of Eventing said she nearly gave up riding after a run of “bad luck” when she lost two horses close together.

When ex-racehorse 13-year-old Sublime Talent (Limey) was gifted to Jo three years ago she got the “bug” back.

“I had a few years of really bad luck with horses. I was really fed up and I’d lost all my money on my last horse,” Jo told H&H.

“My friend and jockey Adam Wedge, who I used to ride with at Pony Club growing up, said he had a lovely racehorse who was too good to be wasted after retiring. He said he had only ever raced and would need starting from scratch.

“I didn’t even meet Limey before he arrived – I paid the fuel money and he was dropped off. I trusted Adam and it was the best gamble I’ve ever taken.”

Jo said Limey has had a lot of “problems”, but is the “kindest and funniest” horse.

“He was at the end of a hard racing career. He began on the flat as a two-year-old and did 58 races. He had kissing spines, ulcers and arthritis, but luckily he came to live with a vet,” said Jo.

“My first challenge was fixing his body, he needed a lot of treatment and we had to get his feet right, but his temperament is amazing. I can’t deal with an unpredictable youngster and be hitting the floor – my job is stressful and I work really long hours, my hobby needs to be fun. For me I know I’m safe when I get on Limey and we have a really lovely time. I can look after his body so I think we suit each other.”

Riding helps Jo deal with the demands of being a vet.

“I’m horse-mad. A lot of vets don’t have their own horses because we don’t have time. Limey lives out 24/7 which makes it easier for me and suits his body and I have friends who help me.

“I don’t see the point in working and earning the money if you don’t spend it on what you love and riding is therapy for me. I love Limey to pieces.”

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The H&H Festival of Eventing marks Jo and Limey’s first ever three-day-event.

“I was so overwhelmed when we arrived at Keysoe and I saw the big arena. We’ve done our personal best dressage, we got a 35.0 which I’m over the moon with and he was brilliant yesterday in the cross-country. We picked up 20 faults for the downward step – he hates steps but I was really proud of him, he had a bit of a gawk and then he went. It was the most technically challenging track he’s done by far,” said Jo.

Jo and Limey produced a clear round in the showjumping.

“It’s been amazing. The event is so friendly, I’m really grateful that people like me can come and have a go – it’s really encouraging. The fences are beautiful, the surface amazing. To ride in the arena with the flags felt really special.”

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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