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Ride of my life: Tim Fairburn

Tim Fairburn recalls his ride on Scotch The Rumours at the Horse of the Year Show

Scotch The Rumours – known at home as Scottie – is still the only working hunter to have won at the Royal Show, Royal International and Horse of theYear in the same year, and he did this for me in 2000.

The most memorable ride I have had on him was at Wembley in 2000. I had had a fall from a novice at the beginning of August, and I’d broken four ribs. I wasn’t allowed to move, much less ride, for six weeks, but I was determined to take Scottie to Wembley.

I got on him for the first time three days before HOYS. I was still strapped up, and I couldn’t believe how much everything hurt! The next day we jumped a small course of fences in Mick Saywell’s indoor school and he was an absolute saint.

When we arrived at Wembley, I was really nervous, but Christie insisted that Scottie would be in his element; I wasn’t so sure.

It was a tricky course, and when it was our turn to jump, no one had gone clear. There was a bogey fence, a parallel off the corner with a black water tray underneath. Everyone was either stopping or having this down, and when we cleared it – the first horse who had – the crowd started clapping and cheering.

We came round to the last fence, a double with a set of planks. I was convinced that we would have it down in all the noise, but Scottie was a star and as we landed, the crowderupted.

Although ours was the only clear round, you can never take anything for granted, so by the time we came back for the evening performance, I was more nervous than ever.

It was the most marvellous feeling when we were called forward as the winners – all the more special as it was millennium year, and we received a silver horse’s head as a memento from the sponsor, Simone Cuddy.

Scottie won HOYS again the following year, and we decided to retire him from workers as I wanted him to bow out at the top. He’s still at home, and goes show jumping occasionally.

Not only did he give me the ride of my life that time at HOYS, but he’s my absolute horse of a lifetime.

Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound (3 October) where Frankie Dettori talks about his ‘ride of a lifetime’. You might just be surprised bythe horse he chooses.

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