Hovis’ star turn with Jonty Evans jeopardised after thieves steal tack

Horse & Hound’s popular equine blogger and fundraiser for Bransby Horses, Hovis, was left without his essential personal wardrobe when thieves stole his tack from a vehicle on Saturday evening.

The 16-year-old part-bred Clydesdale had been due to make a special guest appearance as Jonty Evan’s “new event horse” at Your Horse Live on Sunday (10 November), but the theft put that in jeopardy.

Owner Karen Thompson told H&H the entire contents of husband, Brian’s, truck was stolen at the Premier Inn, Coventry at 8.20pm on Saturday (9 November).

“It happened within an hour and a half of us getting back to the hotel. It’s not what you need when you’re trying to do a charitable thing,” said Karen.

“Hovis has an extremely large bridle and his saddle that we spent months trying to fit is gone – they’ve taken the lot. His tack had been altered specially to fit him, they’re not going to readily fit another horse.”

Hovis’ bridle was an extra-full size made from dark havana leather with a Cheltenham gag bit and no strap on the flash noseband loop. The saddle, a Jeffries extra-wide dark havana leather with red Jeffries’ saddle cover, included Sprenger stirrups with a blue base.

Karen said people “rallied round” with offers of help to enable the display to go ahead, which instead took place in-hand.

“I can’t thank people enough and we tried valiantly to make things work but we couldn’t ask Jonty to get on a horse he’s never ridden, on tack that hasn’t been tried on that horse and ask them to go in a main arena from a safety perspective,” she said.

“Jonty carried on like a trooper, but it was devastating because it was a big surprise and we were all so excited to do it. Both Jonty and Hovis have had horrendous injuries and come back – it was going to be the meeting of two Irish gentlemen who have had one hell of a fight back.”

Karen said the theft has had an emotional impact on her.

“The saddle was hugely expensive, but he has had that bridle since he was young – it’s part of him. It wasn’t massively expensive but it was his and I’ve lost it. He wore the bridle when Mary King and Geoff Billington rode him – it’s got huge memories and someone has walked away with it,” she said.

“People have been massively supportive, we’ve had so many offers of help and his fans have shared the information far and wide trying to make the tack too hot to handle. People have been incredibly kind and generous.”

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Karen added the theft is being dealt with by West Midlands Police who have been provided with CCTV imagery from the hotel.

“Hovis goes into hospital next Monday for a foot operation so the display was going to be his last hurrah beforehand and the last time someone rode him for a little while,” she said.

“We still had a good weekend, it was about raising money and awareness for Bransby Horses. They’ve had a hell of a weekend because of the flooding, so when you put it into context the charity we do so much for is equally having a really awful time of it.”

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