Hunter of a lifetime: ‘Rodeoing nutter’ Kitkat *H&H Plus*

  • Joint-secretary of the Crawley and Horsham Jammy Taylor sings the praises of her “rodeoing nutter”

    “I finally gave up trying to event Kitkat – whom I bought as a five-year-old project to produce and sell on as a swanky eventer and hunter – when we finished our last event on a cricket score of 127,” says Jammy Taylor, the 22-year-old joint-secretary and field master of the Crawley and Horsham.

    “She had it all there, it would just depend on whether she felt like going into the dressage arena or whether, halfway round the showjumping course, she would decide to stand bolt upright.”

    Kitkat, a dainty, 15.2hh Dutch warmblood/thoroughbred, has “got the attitude of an 18hh horse”, says Jammy.

    “At the first opening meet I took her to, she put fear into a lot of people’s eyes and no one could see why I wanted to turn this rodeoing nutter into a hunter, but suddenly a couple of seasons later, it all clicked. It was that season that my dad asked when we were going to sell her and get her gone and I simply replied, ‘You’d have to rip her from my dead hands.’”

    She continues: “I can’t say that she doesn’t throw in a moment here or there, but it’s normally when I’m not letting her be the most important horse out, so she’s got to pull out all the stops to get everyone’s attention again.”

    Kitkat is “a lousy hack – on your own you’d be lucky to make it to the gate, where she’ll decide that the only way is up and you could be there for hours.”

    Jammy thinks that the reason she and Kitkat get on so well is the fact that they are both rather stubborn — and which could have gone the wrong way, but somehow they manage to complement each other.

    “Our biggest achievements have been hunting 10 days bareback – once again, people thought I was mad doing it on her – and the Ledbury’s Golden Button race in 2019, where we were one of the 33 finishers out of 62 starters. We only felt slightly ridiculous when walking around the paddock with these lanky ex-racers and hunters.”

    Taking charge

    Kitkat adores hounds and, given the choice, she’d be up front with them all the time, which would also mean she’d be away from children.

    “I’m not sure what she has against them and their ponies, but she would happily eradicate them if she got the chance,” admits Jammy.

    This also applies to men, but she is slowly learning to slowly tolerate the less fair sex.

    “When we first field mastered, she just took charge and I became a passenger. She knew exactly where the hounds were and where I was supposed to be. She will clear anything from metal gates to hedges that she can’t see over. We used to return to the hunt stables at 6pm and the second horses would be walking in looking like they’ve gone a good day’s hunting. Kitkat would follow behind with wild eyes, looking as if she hadn’t even been out.

    “I used to get asked what the secret of her stamina and energy was, but it was all down to the fact that hunting is her favourite thing to do and if she could, she’d hunt seven days a week. I could say that no one else would be able to hunt her but I think it’s also that no one would want to, but to me she is irreplaceable and the best hunter I could ever ask for.”

    Ref Horse & Hound; 1 October 2020