A showing competitor found herself doing the walk of shame after her cheeky New Forest pony decided to roll in the middle of the ring.
Jane Carpenter, who works as a freelance groom, was taking part in an in-hand class at Brook Stud Events near Chippenham, Wilts, when her four-year-old Mo (Buckland Hat Trick) decided to put the surface to the test.
“It was the first sand school we’ve been in and he’d already tried to go down a couple of times when we were walking round,” Jane said. “When we were pulled into line, we were stood there for the best part of 10 mins with me persuading him not to, then he thought ‘stuff you’ and went down flat.
“For a minute I thought he’d died! I think he’d been plotting the best way of getting down while I was is still holding on to him for some time.”
Jane said that once she had got him up, she decided the best course of action was to quietly leave the ring.
“I thought ‘I can’t dust that off’ and when it was safe to walk round the back of the other horses I left. The judge may have found it funny but I didn’t have the courage to look!” she added.
Jane bought Mo as a six-month old foal, in what she describes as a “midlife crisis moment”. Having always ridden sport horse types, on a whim she decided to travel to the New Forest’s Beaulieu Road sales.
“I had no interest in New Forests before that but I saw they were on the rare breeds list one day and I thought ‘it would be fun to have one’. I had just celebrated my 50th birthday, so I thought it would be a nice present to myself,” she said.
“I spotted him in a pen and he was the best £138 I have ever spent. I also bought another one while I was there, the last one to come in the ring.
“I went down there for the crack of it and came back with these two and haven’t regretted a moment of it.”
While Jane originally planned to back 14.2hh Mo next year and “find some kids to ride him and get to watch them having fun”, the pony’s outgoing personality has inspired her to keep him for herself.
The unusually hairy competitor kept up with runners from the 7km to the 9km marker, where she was eventually caught
Oh electric fencing, so useful yet so infuriating. These 10 commandments may well sound familiar...
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
“He was completely feral when I got him but has always been very up front about everything. All the blood and sports types I have had in the past have been nicely mannered but he is into everything,” she said.
“He’ll put his feet in the trough and climb in a paddling pool if I leave it out for him. I find him as entertaining as he finds life. I’ve never known another one like him.
“He is the first one at the fence if we’re going somewhere, he loads on his own, loves people, doesn’t really care about the other horses and is so, so different to anything I’ve owned before.”
Jane added that Mo had been a “saving grace” after she lost two of her horses in seven weeks.
“I lost my lovely coloured horse to colic and then I had to have my old ex-racehorse put down,” she said. “Fate deals you a funny hand sometimes and Mo has been the one to put a smile back on my face.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.