Small tour dressage champion turns his hooves to eventing

  • A successful small tour dressage horse formerly ridden by Spencer Wilton is enjoying his second career as an eventer having won his first affiliated BE90 class.

    Doogie, a 15-year-old 17.1hh gelding by Democrat, was Inter I champion at the British Dressage National Championships in 2013 with Spencer, and is now being ridden by Alison Lidstone, who is based in Oxfordshire.

    Alison, who formerly represented Britain at the Rural Riders European Cup CIC** in Belgium in 2003, told H&H: “Doogie arrived with me in November 2016. His owners, Mary Baker and Carol Large, made the decision to retire him from top level dressage and he came to me to be retired in the field. He’d been at grass for about a year and the owners asked if I would like to start riding him.

    “One thing led to another and we gave him a little jump and he seemed to really enjoy it. We decided to let him have a bit of fun at the lower levels and for the owners to have a bit of fun. It’s a real treat riding Doogie, he’s obviously beautifully trained, which has made jumping him really easy because he is so educated.

    “I started jumping him this year and took him cross-country schooling in the spring. I think he’d jumped a little bit with the odd pole session in the years gone by, but never cross country. He took to it and that’s where his previous training really came in.”

    Alison and Doogie competed at Monmouth on 14 September winning their BE90 section, finishing on their dressage score of 19.8.

    “He got the best dressage score – it would have been a bit awkward if I hadn’t got a good mark! He’s used to competitions but when he goes to a dressage show it’s quite contained whereas I think for him, going to an event and seeing lots of things in the distance, he was fascinated,” said Alison.

    “Mary and Carol couldn’t see Doogie at Monmouth because they were at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon watching the dressage so once they got back they came to the yard for a carrot ceremony.”

    Alison said Doogie is the “easiest” horse on her yard.

    “I’m a very lucky girl. He’s a very kind, lovely horse. He’s a real gentleman and just so easy to deal with.”

    Alison is riding Doogie at BE Dauntsey Park this weekend (28-30 September).

    “We have some more lower level runs planned for this season,” said Alison. “He’s a very bright horse when the jumping bit comes along, and he’s quite capable but he’s 15 and he’s only ever been worked on dressage arenas, so I’m conscious it’s not the surface he has been accustomed to over the years so naturally we want to be careful with him.

    His owners just want him to be happy and he really enjoys his jumping so it’s a nice thing for him to do.”

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