‘I could have ridden him down the M25’: Final farewell to home-produced HOYS-winning maxi cob

  • A former Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) maxi cob of the year has been put down aged 12.

    Imogen Yates’ Colour Index was one of the circuit’s top maxis, not only winning the coveted accolade at the NEC but also standing second at both the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) and Royal Windsor with his long-term rider Angela Lance.

    Imogen sourced “Finn” as an unbacked four-year-old from Reid Finlay in Ireland.

    “Finn was quite sharp to begin with, but he’s had a fun streak in him from day one,” said Imogen, who backed Finn, and home-produced him throughout his career. “He was always such a character.”

    Imogen showed Finn in-hand and after he showed promise as a novice, he took the maxi cob ranks by storm, qualifying for RIHS and HOYS every year since 2016. In 2018, he won the final at HOYS.

    “It was absolutely phenomenal, especially for a home-produced cob,” Imogen said. “He’d been to HOYS the two previous seasons but wasn’t in the line-up, so all I wanted was for him to come home with a placing. It still doesn’t feel real when I think back; I can’t believe what our little team had achieved.

    “Finn and Angela had an amazing partnership, and we had a great agreement; I’d do him from home and she’d meet us at shows. His favourite show was the Hickstead Derby. He loved clapping and he loved a big ring; he was a proper showman.”

    Finn was also successfully competed in British Dressage, working at advanced medium level at home.

    “At home he was very demanding, especially for food, and I have no zips left on my coats. He was so safe to hack; I could have hacked him down the M25. He such was a good, fun horse to have,” Imogen said.

    Unfortunately, Finn developed degenerative ligament damage in both front feet 18 months ago and after a retirement at grass the decision was made to put him down.

    “He had a suitable end, after enjoying some time in the field with his friends,” Imogen said. “There will never be another one quite like him.”

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