Former five-star eventer delights his fans out hunting

Followers of the Ludlow spotted a familiar face as four-star (now five-star) eventer Mr Potts took on the role of fieldmaster’s horse.

Louise Harwood’s homebred 17-year-old has been loaned to Alan Nolan this season as he didn’t have a suitable mount for the job.

“He was amazing. It was the coldest, wettest day I have ever hunted,” said Alan. “We’re rails and hedge country and he jumped everything up in front and had his ears pricked on the hounds all day long. It was a complete privilege to ride him.”

Alan Nolan riding Mr Potts out hunting

The 16.2hh gelding’s memorable white face also meant he was quickly spotted by members of the field.

“I had some visitors out that day and they were all coming up and recognising him, so he was a celebrity for the day,” Alan added. “There was a huge amount of pressure as I thought, ‘if I fall off at the first fence I will look a right idiot!’

“Everyone was in awe of him saying ‘what a cool horse’, and I think he thought so as well!”

Potts, who has 866 points on his record, stepped down from top-level eventing last year but has continued to have successful runs at open intermediate and advanced with Louise, as well as competing at BE90 and Pony Club show jumping with her niece Amber.

“He’s got plenty of life in him yet,” said Louise, who also bred his dam Much Of A Muddle. “We won some good money at Dauntsey on his last run of the season and Amber will hopefully have him out at novice next year while I will do the odd advanced with him.

“His uncle Barney [Bit Of A Barney] went on til he was 18 or 19 and won his last advanced, so I expect we’ll keep Potts going for a bit yet.”

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Louise said she had offered Alan the ride as he didn’t have anything “super-experienced for the job” and Potts tended to misbehave when turned out for the winter.

“He always gets evicted for jumping out — he gets bored and does something silly and blots his copy-book!” Louise said.

She added that Potts had hunted before as a youngster, but the last time out he had taken her off on a gatepost.

“He has spent his whole career turning left too quickly,” she said. “He’s not the most patient horse but he’s not too bad!”

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