‘Everyone needs a Bobby’: 35-year-old pony who won eventing last summer is still going strong

  • The rider of a “superstar” pony who scored an eventing win last year aged 34 is hoping to repeat the feat this season.

    Six-year-old Amy Lister and Charn Florin, aka Bobby, won their lead-rein 30cm class on their dressage score last August, and Amy’s ambition is to take on the off-lead 30cm this summer.

    Mum Sally told H&H Bobby (pictured, right) thrives on his light workload, and he is carefully monitored to make sure he is happy and healthy.

    “He’s an absolute superstar,” she said. “We’ve had him since October 2020 and Amy’s just gone from strength to strength; he’s given her so much confidence.”

    Amy has been riding since she was about 18 months old — in a basket saddle, while her twin brother was in the pushchair — but progressed during lockdown to the point she wanted to be riding independently. Her first pony Charlie (pictured, left) was “great on the lead rein but is a tinker off it”, so Sally started looking for another pony — and found Bobby, who is on loan from Tessa Buckley.

    “He’s an absolute saint,” Sally said. “Amy can tack him up by herself, muck him out and bring him in from the field, and she absolutely loves him to bits.

    “We don’t jump him much but he will happily pop round at 30cm, so she did a little one-day event in August on him and Charlie.

    “She was in the lead on about 24.3 after the dressage on Bobby, and fourth on Charlie with 33.3, and I thought ‘She could get a one-two here!’ Bobby went clear showjumping and across country, then I ran like billy-o with Charlie, only to find the cross-country wasn’t timed. She ended up first and fourth, which gave her the bug, and Bobby, aged 34, had won. It was just fabulous.”

    Sally said Bobby has frequent vet checks, and “costs more than my two-star horse to look after”.

    “He has all his feed and rugs and checks, but it’s worth every penny,” she said. “Every little girl or boy who wants to ride needs a Bobby in their life because he’s an absolute gem. Amy is desperate to do the 30cm event off the lead rein this year and I’m not sure he will, but that’s what she’s planning.”

    Sally added that Bobby is a shining example of what older ponies can be.

    “I’ve got a picture of him out hunting aged 22, jumping a post and rail fence,” she said. “So many people think, when horses get to 18, 19, 20 that they’re getting old and need to retire but he wouldn’t have managed out in a field.

    “I think it’s the fact he does a bit of work, four or five times a week, that keeps him busy and active, and happy, rather than giving up.

    “He goes hacking on the roads and the grass tracks and in the arena, and the only thing we limit is the jumping, to 30cm — but if you did face him at that post and rail again now, he’d absolutely give it a go. He’s an absolute legend. Everyone needs a Bobby.”

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