From gypsy cob to Hickstead speed Derby: ‘I wouldn’t have believed it’

  • A couple who are trying to swap their way from a gypsy cob to a grand prix showjumper say they have thoroughly enjoyed the process – and have qualified for the Hickstead speed Derby.

    Tamsin Lott and Frankie Penford started with a £700 cob and now have 10-year-old warmblood Castleconnell Shamboozie (Paddy).

    Tamsin told H&H the idea came about as she had lost her beloved horse after 11 years, last March.

    “Frankie could see how devastated I was, and my horse wasn’t insured, and I didn’t have the money to buy one,” she said. “So he came up with this idea.”

    The couple travelled to Wales to buy Misty, a 13.2hh cob, whom Tamsin said was “absolutely perfect”.

    “She was so sweet,” she said. “I schooled her a bit and we did lots of hacking, and we found her a lovely home with some kids.”

    The couple used the money from Misty’s new owners to buy Darcy, a coloured cob of about 13hh, who Tamsin said was also very sweet and enjoyed her jumping.

    “We sold her to a lovely little girl also called Darcy, which was really cool,” she said.

    The next project was a 14.2hh cob, whom they bought from Cornwall, called Sausage.

    “I think he’s been my favourite,” Tamsin said. “We kept him for a bit, got him fit and riding, and jumping. We’re near Ashdown Forest [in East Sussex] and he loved hacking there.”

    By the time they sold Sausage, last September, the couple had about £5,000, which they used to buy a horse called Julio, from Duckhurst Farm in Kent. They kept him till March, when he went to Scotland with his new owner.

    “She’s really happy with him,” Tamsin said.

    This left them with £9,000, and they bought Castleconnell Shamboozie (Paddy), who impressed both of them so much, they decided to aim for Saturday’s feature class at Hickstead, qualifying yesterday with Frankie (20 June).

    “And I don’t think he’ll be the final one!” Tamsin said, adding that while they had Julio, she and Frankie had also started again finding good homes for other project horses.

    “It’s quite difficult to find them, we’ve done a lot of travelling,” she said. “Some have just been in the field not doing anything so it’s been so nice to find them such good homes.

    “I wouldn’t have believed we’d be able to do what we’ve done. I was so heartbroken over losing my horse, it just gave me something to focus on. I’ve treated them all as my own, then found them the best homes.”

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