A lot of horse and rider combinations were making their debuts at this week’s LeMieux National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh (14-17 September). One of those was Katie Wray and her own skewbald gelding, Boney M.
Katie bought the 11-year-old Dutch warmblood, by Cool Cracker, eight years ago as a just broken three-year-old.
“I found ‘Cracker’ at Astrid Bolton’s yard,” says Katie, who works as UK sales manager for Dechra Veterinary Products, a company that supplies vets with prescription medicines. “He was still entire, so one of my first jobs was to have him gelded.”
Cracker is Katie’s only horse and she says he is quite a character.
“He is a bit like Donkey from Shrek,” she laughs. “He’s sharp in between the ears but can actually be really lazy off my leg.”
In that respect, training Cracker can be quite a challenge.
“He’s not the most straightforward horse and no two days are ever the same with him,” says Katie, who is based in north Nottinghamshire.
Cracker’s talents aren’t just limited to dressage.
“If you pointed him at a house he would jump it,” laughs Katie. “He adores jumping and we’ve even done some one-day events, although he’s not the fastest across country.”
This is the first time this combination has competed at the national championships.
Meet a super-young competitor and her tiny pony
“He’s my only horse and it’s good to be here,” says Katie, who trains with Hannah Esberger. The pair were competing in the Childeric Saddles elementary silver championship and scored 64.79% for 21st place.
“It’s the first time Cracker has been in that atmosphere. Unfortunately my hair bobble fell out on to his back and he bucked and then some people started clapping, but we’ll keep working on moving up the levels.”
Keep up-to-date with all of the news from the National Dressage Championships by keeping an eye on the Horse & Hound website, and don’t miss the full magazine report, out on Thursday 21 September.