Meet the silver and gold dressage supercob who changes colour throughout the year

  • Meet this stunning “supercob” who’s both silver and gold, changes colour throughout the year – and is a dab hoof at dressage.

    Catherine Chalkly and Bradwell Dun Deal, both 16, secured second place in the elementary dressage to music class at the British Riding Clubs championships at Bury Farm on 30 September.

    Catherine’s mother Hannah told H&H they have owned “Brad” for four years.

    “We clip him all year round and he’s golden, but goes grey in winter,” she said. “He didn’t have many dapples when we bought him; they’re more a recent thing! He changes shade throughout the year.”

    The buckskin gelding is described as dun in his passport, but also shows off varying shades of grey.

    “We don’t know how he’s bred; when he got him, he had an appaloosa passport!” Hannah said. “He’s now registered as a part-bred with the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association. We’re not sure what the other part is; people have said Clydesdale, Connemara, Friesian – no idea!”

    Hannah said her daughter has only been riding for five or six years, and Hannah originally bought Brad for herself, but “he became Catherine’s horse very quickly”.

    “They started doing dressage just before Covid; she does a bit of jumping and cross-country but dressage is her big passion,” Hannah said.

    “Before we bought him, he’d spent most of his life in a field doing nothing so he was really green and we had to start him from the beginning but he’s been an absolute star, brilliant to do everything with. He can be a bit grumpy but he hasn’t got a nasty bone in his body.”

    Hannah added that she trusts the cob implicitly, whatever Catherine does with him.

    “We’ve got to a difficult junction in Catherine’s life because she takes dressage very seriously and wants to progress but she’s been told he’ll never get selected for any teams,” Hannah said. “The question came up of selling him but we just couldn’t, we love him, and he’s making her a rider.”

    Hannah said she would not want Catherine to have a “push-button” dressage horse, and that she and Brad were selected to represent their region this year, and are hoping to move up to medium level this winter.

    She added that she was nervous at the championships – “She was the only junior in the class and there were some very good riders there!” – but all went well.

    “I was very proud,” she said.

    And as is the case at most shows, others were full of questions about Brad.

    “People always ask what colour he is, and what breed,” Hannah said. “They ask if he’s for sale, even when we’ve stopped at service stations! His stable name is really Rolo but we call him Brad as we imagine he’s like a surfer, loving himself with his long hair.”

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