‘He lived for shows’: farewell to coloured show horse who became a champion with one eye

  • The much-loved coloured horse Star Dream has been put down aged 22 after a bout of colic.

    Star Dream (Dexter) was co-owned by Suzy Feltham, Jamie Rashbrook and Darren Dighton, with Jamie showing him for the duration of his career.

    Dexter came over from Ireland having been used as a hunt horse and an all-rounder. He joined Jamie and Darren as a project to sell on.

    “I’d lost my old horse, so the boys kindly said I could have Dexter; this was over 10 years ago,” said Suzy.

    Dexter began his competitive career showjumping, but was stepped down from the sport after fracturing his pelvis.

    “When he couldn’t jump anymore we decided to start showing him, and with the help of Team Holder he had a ridden campaign,” Suzy added. “He qualified for the Royal International (RIHS) in his first season.

    “Sadly, he developed an ulcer in his left eye and while our vets tried to save it with surgery, he had to have his eye taken out. While losing his eye was one thing, we nearly lost him at the same time as he developed an infection that almost went into his brain. He was in the Royal Veterinary College for six weeks.”

    Once he was discharged from the vets, Dexter was lightly shown under saddle, qualifying for Hickstead once again before he was retired from ridden ranks. He then commenced his in-hand career, with Jamie at his side. His main results achieved include the veteran supreme title at the 2019 CHAPS championships. He was also reserve supreme Veteran Horse Society horse of the year and he lifted many titles on the county show circuit.

    “He always rose to the occasion in an evening performance,” said Suzy. “We retired him from in-hand showing in 2022 with a retirement ceremony held at the national veteran championships. The loss of his eye never affected him and he lived for shows. He’d come out of the lorry with so much presence and he loved having his photograph taken.

    “The trust and bond Dexter had with Jamie was incredible; if Dexter was unsure Jamie would reassure him and he’d know everything was going to be OK.”

    Dexter spent the past year hacking around the countryside with Suzy.

    “He looked so well that we were actually considering taking him to a show,” she said. “It was a very sudden loss.”

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