Lissa Green’s pint-sized 2017 Badminton ride Malin Head Clover has enjoyed a fun-filled weekend with a new jockey in the saddle.
The 15.2hh gelding was partnered by Lissa’s head girl Lydia Harrison in an 80cm pairs class at West Wilts Hunter Trials.
Lydia and “Ali G” led Lissa, who was riding the showjumper-turned-eventer Igor, owned by Dean Lockwood and Michael Whitaker, round the novice pairs at West Wilts Eventing Centre on 30 September.
“I have never laughed so much in my life, it was so much fun,” said Lissa, adding that the excitement was “equal to” that she has felt jumping some of the biggest international courses.
“He is so amazing and so special — he was a particularly strong horse and I found him more difficult to ride at two-star level than even at Badminton, where he finally backed off.
“But he was so good and calm — it was as if he realised ‘this is my job now’.”
The 16-year-old gelding has a touch of arthritis and his condition has been carefully managed by Lissa and her team, but she had been struggling to know what the best job for him would be when the perfect solution fell into place.
“I’ve been wondering what to do with him, I can’t retire him because he loves doing things,” she said.
“So I sold him for £1 to one of my owners and he is having the best time with him.”
Lissa added that as the owner is very busy, Lydia is often able to take the reins.
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“Lydia is absolutely amazing and we all love her — she’s one of those people who, no matter what happens, just has the biggest smile on her face and can turn a bad day into a good one,” added Lissa.
“[When we suggested the hunter trials] she said ‘I haven’t jumped in years!” then she kept texting me the night before, saying ‘I’m so excited!’
“She rode him so well and he absolutely loved it — there’s not many four-star horses that can come out and behave as well as he did, some of the best are extraordinary.
“I’m so pleased this idea has worked out, making the horse and more than one person very happy.”
Lissa added that Ali G will stay with her “for ever” and she plans to do some showjumping with him over the winter.
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