‘Wannabe cob’ turns her hoof to international eventing

  • A “wannabe cob” who was too naughty to work in a riding school has completed her first CIC* event.

    Miss Moneypenny III (Penny) is a hogged 14-year-old of unknown breeding, who “has to be clipped about seven times each winter” and “thinks she’s a princess”, according to owner Maddie Oldfield.

    But having completed one event at novice last year, and three more this season, going clear cross-country on each occasion, Maddie stepped up a level at Chilham Castle, Kent, on 29 July.

    “It was incredible,” geography student Maddie told H&H.

    “I was most nervous about the dressage; I know the jumping is really just like a tough novice but there I was, warming up, while the family who live in the castle were sitting outside; it was like riding on their lawn!”

    Penny scored 53.3 for her dressage, and had two fences down showjumping, but galloped clear across country, adding 16.8 time-faults to finish on 78.10.

    “The aim was to finish on a sub-100 score but more importantly, to get round safe and have fun,” Maddie said. “It wasn’t cheap, with the extra international costs, but it was worth it.”

    Maddie was 16 when she bought 15.2hh Penny, her first horse, five years ago, having learned on riding school ponies.

    “The agreement with my parents was that I couldn’t ride every day so she went on working livery at the riding school,” Maddie said.

    “She was, for six months, but got kicked out of the riding school bit because the kids kept falling off her; they didn’t enjoy teaching from her because she’d go and the kids would come off!

    “She’s a wannabe cob; she’s only allowed on grass after a competition as she gets so fat and she gets a real bushy mane and proper feathers.”

    Maddie herself was inexperienced but “we’ve had some great training,” she said.

    “A lot of help from my amazing trainers Charlotte Gee and Louise Evans and we’ve finally got there. We only did our first novice at the end of last season; she’d been placed at BE100s and double clear at the BE100 regional final, but her dressage wasn’t good enough to qualify for Badminton.

    “I thought it never would be but her cross-country record was really good. She was clear cross-country at all her novices so I thought ‘let’s try a one-star and see what happens’ – she’s a cob that can.

    “She’s a real diva who has to be the centre of attention – but she’s lovely.”

    Maddie hopes Penny will be able to compete at intermediate level in future but her aim for this season is a novice this month, followed by a break and another one or two CIC* events by the end of the season.

    “Then a bit of winter dressage and showjumping, and back next season to do it all again,” she said.

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