The owner of a 22-year-old grade A showjumper still successful at 1.20m level has urged others not to write off older horses.
Jade Hall, who backs and produces youngsters as JCH Sport Horses, has owned Malcolm (Diamond Ex) for 10 years, although she had had her eye on him before that. She at first took him to sell for previous owner Lara Lain, then secured him on loan, then finally raised enough money to buy him.
“He’s amazing; I just wish I had a pill for him to be for ever young!” she told H&H.
Having jumped Malcolm up to 1.25m level, Jade tried jumping him in smaller classes when she was taking younger horses out.
“But he’s a pain in the bum lower!” she said, adding that although the Irish gelding is 16.2hh, he “bounces round like a 15.2hh”, and does not respect smaller fences.
“He gets really over-excited and sometimes forgets about his back legs, or forgets my legs are there so he takes the wings out with my shins,” she said.
“But he’s better at 1.20m; I think he realises I sometimes know a bit better than he does about the bigger fences.
“Sometime I think people think I’m being mean asking him to jump bigger, but I know he’ll tell me when he doesn’t want to go to a show or jump – and he never has.”
Jade said Malcolm, who was due to jump at the British Showjumping (BS) spring championships last month, and at Wales & West last weekend, was fit and struggling to adjust to not going to shows during the coronavirus lockdown.
“I’m particularly proud of him this year for ending up 13th in the BS silver league table for our area over the winter with not too many outings compared to others in the league,” she said. “I think this week, he’s started to realise he won’t be going anywhere yet.”
Jade said she is lucky Malcolm, whom she says is “a perfect gentleman in every sense”, has very good conformation and has always been sound, but that she works hard to keep him strong and supple, with water treadmill treatments, a joint supplement she has found to work, appropriate flatwork and no over-jumping.
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“Sometimes, I’ve found people with slightly older horses start thinking about retiring them, which I completely understand, but I believe in working the horse so it can be the best it can be, and encourage people to believe in their horses as they get older,” she said.
“I wish I could collect older horses and make them feel younger again.”
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