The owner of the exceptional coloured show horse Indian Trail has paid tribute to her much-loved equine partner.
“Indie”, who has numerous major championships to his name, loved the main arena at Hickstead and gave joy to many, has been put down aged 34 following a long and happy life with Georgina and Anthony Andrews.
“He was wonderful and such a gentle giant — a 10-year-old could ride him at home,” Georgina told H&H, adding he had the “most amazing kind temperament” and it was a privilege to own him for so many years.
“We knew it was coming, but he had been so well in himself — just the other day he got loose and was galloping past me up the track, not worried, just checking all the other horses were alright!”
Indie was with the Andrews family for 27 years — and his finding them was down to a series of coincidences.
Georgina first spotted him when previous owner Freddie Welch was parked by her one day at a show.
“Then I happened to be walking past the ring at Newbury Show a couple of weeks later when I noticed a coloured horse jumping a lovely clear round and it was him,” she said.
She thought he might suit her daughter, Jessica, so went to try him.
“He was far too big, so said to Anthony ‘have a sit on him’ and that was it,” she said. “Anthony had him as his fun horse and did a bit of showjumping with him, including some members cups, then I took him around some hunter trials. Marjorie Ramsay suggested I did some proper coloured showing, which I hadn’t realised was an option.”
The rest is history and Indie went on to win four championship titles at the Hickstead Derby meeting, three British Skewbald and Piebald Association national titles as well as multiple victories at Royal Windsor. Such was the mark he left on the showing world that Hickstead now has a series of Indian Trail classes named after him.
“Roger Stack was the first to ride him at Royal Windsor — I was riding a hack and the classes clashed — there would have been 30 in the class and he won, doing flying changes in his individual show,” Georgina added. “Roger thought he was going to get on an ordinary coloured and realised he was a bit different — Indie just had that effect on people and people still ask after him.
“He was so well mannered and so easy, I’d just get to a show, canter down and he just rose to the occasion. The main ring at Hickstead he just loved — it was always Derby day and in those days there were such crowds and television cameras and he thought it was wonderful, that it was all for him.”
Georgina said people remembered him and thanked all those who have taken time to send messages and cards since hearing of his passing.
As well as his glittering showing career, Indie also took part in many displays and parades. AP McCoy borrowed Indie to run through a dressage test ahead of a charity event and Carl Hester borrowed him in the late 90s for a dressage display for pupils at the Fortune Centre.
“I have no idea how he knew about Indie — all the students loved him and I was at Olympia last year when someone came up to tell me that he had been at the Fortune Centre when Indie did his display,” she said.
“At home we can see his stable from the kitchen and at night he would always have his head out, regardless of rain or snow. It would look like he was wearing a white hat in winter with the snow on his ears.
“He was best friends with our other horse, Overdrive, and he is definitely missing him. They just went everywhere together — sometimes I would look out the window and think there was only one horse in the field as they were so close.”
Indie retired from competition aged 27 after standing reserve champion at Olympia and lived out his days at home.
Anthony’s brother, Timothy, wrote a poem in his memory, chiming with all those who have said goodbye to equine friends.
When the wind blows,
There will he be
When the larks call
They will waken you from dreams of him
When you hear hooves of others
For a moment, they shall be his
You shall never forget him
Because all these beautiful sounds
Will remind you of the old boy
Once young and boisterous,
Then mature and strong
And, as he aged, wise and true.
The cost of the fullness of your love
Is the empty void which is left
Seemingly with only sadness to fill it
But look up, up to the heavens!
And there he shall be
Happy and free!
So let the wind blow and the larks call,
For they know he still gallops
In our memory
And in our hearts
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