He nearly died after a serious bout of colic last year, but working hunter specialist and crowd favourite Harley Foxtrot proved he is back to his brilliant best when winning at the Wales & West Hunter Show this month (9 August).
The 13-year-old son of prolific eventing sire Ricardo Z made his comeback this season at North Of England show, where he earned a Horse of the Year Show ticket.
The gelding had been absent from the show ring for more than 12 months after colic surgery in June 2015.
“It’s a miracle he’s still alive — I didn’t sleep for weeks,” said Warwickshire-based Libby Cooke, who has partnered the horse since he was five.
Harley, who is owned by David Reid-Scott and was bred by Ann Redmond, was found to have a lump in his small intestine which needed removing, due to causing a blockage which triggered colic.
“He would not be here today without the amazing team from Bourton Vale Equine Clinic and vet Richard Tyler,” added Libby. “He means a lot to me and I’m so happy that he’s OK.”
At Wales & West, Harley Foxtrot won his heavyweight worker class and stood reserve working hunter champion behind his stablemate Mousa Kousa — a lightweight also campaigned by Libby.
Harley is a three-time winner of the working hunter title at Royal Windsor, including back-to-back victories there in 2014 and 2015.
He won 12 times in 2014 and was the subject of a ‘Stripped Bare’ feature in H&H’s 2015 showing special (19 March issue).
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As well as being successful in the show ring, he has been a regular with the North Cotswold Hunt, which Libby believes helped make Harley such a successful working hunter campaigner.
After winning at Royal Windsor last season Libby said: “My only aim is to make sure Harley remains as happy as he was today.”
Don’t miss the full Wales & West report and all our showing coverage in this week’s Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 25 August.