‘Quirky’ Friesian transformed into showing champion

  • The owner of a ‘quirky’ Friesian horse transformed from being unable to canter with a rider to a showing sensation has said her dreams have come true.

    Katie Yeo bought eight-year-old Jeorgeo from Ebony Stud in January after he was found to be unsuitable as a driving horse — and he went on to stand champion at Equifest (29 August to 1 September).

    “I broke Jeorgeo to drive as a three-year-old for the stud and he was a very sensitive little man,” Katie told H&H.

    “He was never supposed to be a ridden horse so he was only taught walk and trot but the driving didn’t work out because he could be very highly strung.

    “The stud didn’t want to sell him but he needed a job. I retired my Welsh cob Tino last year due to injury and did some work for the stud with Jeorgeo and I was asked if I wanted to buy him so I took a chance on him.”

    Katie said she quickly bonded with Jeorgeo.

    “He couldn’t canter or go on a circle so I had to spend a lot of time teaching him everything but he was so willing. He needed to trust someone and be a one-person horse – he’s very clingy,” she said.

    “People said to me I’d never bond with a horse the way I did with Tino because I’ve owned him 17 years, but I have. A month after buying Jeorgeo I did cross-country at the livery yard bareback because my saddle was away being reflocked – I can do anything with him.”

    Katie said she was talked into taking Jeorgeo to Equifest by Rebecca Jayne Rawlinson, who designs side-saddle costumes. Katie and Jeorgeo won six classes, including side-saddle and astride ridden classes, and was crowned open world breeds supreme ridden champion.

    “Rebeccca said Jeorgeo would look amazing in a costume and planted the seed. I thought we would go, let him see a bit of the world and treat it as a training show. He’d only been to three small shows before, never a big show in a big arena,” she said.

    “I couldn’t believe we won the championship, it was a dream come true. He has a very bouncy exuberant trot and one of the judges said what a showman he is.”

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    Katie said she plans to continue Jeorgeo’s education and is aiming for the side-saddle national championships in 2020.

    “He’s proven Friesians can do a bit of everything. We are going to try some hunter trials and do some showjumping and dressage over winter but I never wanted to put pressure on him because he’s still young,” she said.

    “It hasn’t sunk in what he’s achieved in such a short time, he’s a proper gentleman who always tries his heart out.”

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