‘There won’t be another like him’: legendary eight-time Royal International winner dies aged 34

  • Georgina Andrews’ prolific show horse Overdrive, who won the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) eight times during his career, has died aged 34.

    Overdrive, who was known as Fred at home, competed as an intermediate both on the flat and as a working hunter before he became a champion side-saddle mount.

    Fred, who was by Java Tiger out of a Connemara mare, began his career under Helen Summers (nee Clubley) who first stumbled across his advert in the pages of Horse & Hound (H&H). 

    “He’d been an eventer, competing up to intermediate level,” Helen explained. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford him at the time, but I kept his advert and a couple of months later I called the owners back. To my amazement he hadn’t been sold. We headed to try him and managed to get the money together to buy him.”

    Helen had intended to aim Fred solely at working hunter classes, but his potential on the flat shone through early on in their partnership: “He completely transformed once we got him home so we decided to do an intermediate show hunter class with him. On our first go, we finished last, but the judge said that we could do well if I could sit him up and get him working from behind. Later that year we finished second at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) under that same judge.”

    Fred and Helen, trained by Rachel Turner, were the ones to beat in working hunter ranks from the beginning. In his worker tack, Fred won the President’s Award and the Gold Cup championship at the BSPS championships and the supreme of show accolade at Ponies UK. He finished third at HOYS with a pole, beating three clears.

    “My most memorable achievement was standing second at the RIHS over fences in the morning, and winning on the flat in the afternoon, two years on the trot,” said Helen. “He was never that easy to jump, despite his success, but he loved an atmosphere and he was a real showman. He didn’t really like smaller shows and he needed to be in front of a crowd to perform. There won’t be another like him.”

    Helen enjoyed three seasons with Fred before he was sold to the Andrews family.

    Georgina’s daughter, Sammy, initially rode him, reclaiming the intermediate show hunter title at Hickstead. When Sammy went to university, Georgina took the ride and Fred won the RIHS final five more times with a side-saddle.

    His other accolades included the Royal Windsor ladies’ title, the Royal Show supreme and multiple titles at the Show Hack and Cob Association (now the British Show Horse Association) championships.

    “The last time he reigned at the RIHS he was 19,” said Georgina, of the former H&H cover star. “H&H once deemed him a rosette machine, and he was just that. He even finished in the top line as a small hunter at the RIHS, and stood third at HOYS as a riding horse; all we did was change his browband!

    “Helen had done an amazing job with him prior to him joining our family,” Georgina added. “I could count on one hand how many times he was beaten in side-saddle classes, a good thing really as he always fly-bucked on the lap of honour if he was second; he hated it!

    “He was the perfect gentleman in the ring; he never anticipated but he knew the show without me having to even ask. He gave an unbelievable ride and the Hickstead main ring was his favourite place in the world.

    “At home, I would describe him as an old, grumpy actor; he could be bad tempered in the stable as that was his private dressing room. He could also be really bright out hacking if there were more than two horses out at one time.”

    For the last two years of his life, Fred was based with Helen and Hannah Horton.

    “We owe them a lot for giving him such a good retirement,” said Georgina. “He was the biggest character who we will all miss greatly.”

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