Tales from Hickstead: Veteran Fell stallion overcomes life-threatening injury to head to Royal International

  • WHEN Fell pony Waverhead Dazzler II injured a ligament in 2018, vets warned he might never come sound, and his owner Georgie Lewis-Roberts was advised to put him down. Instead she made the decision to give him every opportunity to heal, and the pair are now back in the ring and looking forward to competing at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).

    “I got ‘Possum’ eight years ago just after my father died to give me something positive to focus on, and he’s been my best friend ever since,” said Georgie. “We enjoyed a few seasons showing and he proved to be brilliant in the ring. When he was injured, I was devastated but refused to give up.”

    To make matters worse, the same year Possum went lame, Georgie suffered a back injury in a car crash.

    “At that point, I thought we’d never compete together again,” she said.

    Georgie slowly recovered from her injuries, and after six months of box rest, Possum started in-hand walking.

    “We had to hand walk him up and down a 10m strip, five times a day to try and get him right, and thank goodness we did because he came back perfectly,” said Georgie. “We built the work up slowly and eventually we were both back to normal.”

    In 2019, the pair qualified for the RIHS in the then PUK amateur class, and in 2020, they were supreme of show at the Veteran Horse Society National Championships.

    “This year, at the NPS Spring Festival, he floated round the ring and qualified for the intermediate class with UKPH, having been second more than once in qualifiers before,” added Georgie. “He then exceeded all my dreams to clinch the amateur qualifier as well, and this will be my first time competing in the intermediate final at RIHS.”

    Now 19, Possum is also a sire, and this year, competed against his granddaughter Brackenbank Flicka.

    “Possum is the most incredible pony, and does everything with me,” said Georgie. “My friends describe him as the Tesla of horses in the ring – you put him in gear, and off he goes!”

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