‘She gave her heart and soul’: farewell to mare who took rider from 80cm to advanced eventing

  • The rider of a horse who took her from eventing at 80cm to advanced level, and sixth place at the national championships, has paid tribute to her “absolute horse of a lifetime”.

    Katie Corteen’s mare Forgeland Tiger Tot had to be put down aged 11 last week as she had been diagnosed with severe navicular.

    “I couldn’t keep her in that much pain; I couldn’t have lived with myself,” said Katie, who was shortlisted for the Pikeur amateur rider of the year category at the 2019 H&H Awards.

    Katie bought “Totty” as a four-year-old, and “took a bit of a punt on her”.

    “She was bred for showing!” she said. “But she was in budget, which was only £3,000, so we went for it. I remember going to see her, she’d jumped a couple of cross-poles, and the people selling her thinking ‘Are you sure you want to buy her as an eventer?’!

    “The funniest part was, there was us thinking yes, we were going to turn her into an eventer; we got her home and there was a puddle outside her stable — and she wouldn’t go in the stable for three hours as she wouldn’t go over it.

    “She never would go in a puddle either; she’d go straight into it on a cross-country, and into the sea — she loved the beach — but see a puddle out hacking and it was always a firm no.”

    Totty and Katie enjoyed success up to three-star level but one of her highlights was coming sixth in the intermediate championship at the Festival of British Eventing in 2019, the year she was nominated for the H&H award.

    “On the floor, she was probably the sassiest diva you could come across, but when you rode, she gave her heart and soul to everything,” Katie said.

    Katie has another mare, 10-year-old Curra Oko (Millie), whom she is hoping to step up to three-star level next season, but she said it was Totty who took her to where she is.

    “Never would I have got there without her,” she said. “In the whole time I had her, I think we only had two cross-country lessons; it was like she had been there before, even though we were progressing together. She loved it and would jump anything in front of her.

    “I love Milly to bits but Totty was my absolute horse of a lifetime, who taught me so much and we did all our firsts together, and she loved it all. There won’t be another one like her.”

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