Tales from Hartpury: the horse with a rare skin condition that travelled in first gear for six miles

Dressage videos 28 Videos Amy Woodhead: how to ride a canter half pass to wow the judges 02:58 Amy Woodhead: how working for Carl Hester has set her up for success 06:14 Watch Carl Hester at home: 'I can't wait to get out of bed and train horses towards grand prix' 02:31 Tales from Hartpury: the nine-year-old rising star with an Olympic dream 02:35 Winter Dressage Championships day four: one-two for Dujardin 03:43 Sophie Wells' rising star impresses on prix st georges gala night 01:22 Winter Dressage Championships day three: former runaway horse shows what she's made of for championship first-timer 03:30 Tales from Hartpury: the event horse making waves in her new career 01:56 Tales from Hartpury: Five horses and 13 tests — but did this rider remember where to go? 01:04 Tales from Hartpury: the horse with a rare skin condition that travelled in first gear for six miles 02:02 Winter Dressage Championships day two: Dujardin wants her rising star's foal for Easter 03:35 Tales from Hartpury: meet the family pony rubbing shoulders with dressage's big guns 01:08 Winter Dressage Championships day one: a shock victory and a horse defies the odds to do a double 04:43 H&H dressage editor’s Area Festival video diary: Disbelieving the results of my small and fairly average horse 05:03 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro's European freestyle dressage test 07:13 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro wow the crowds at Hartpury 09:37 What is 'breath energy' and could it help your riding? 03:48 Watch Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro's freestyle on a catch ride 06:38 Ruth Edge: How to ride the perfect 10m circle 01:18 Exclusive: watch Valegro work out on a water treadmill 02:46 'Squat to exhaustion': meet Alice Oppenheimer 02:43 Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin: A bit of banter 03:15 Maria Eilberg: How to improve your horse's walk 02:03 Maria Eilberg: how to improve your horse’s trot 01:21 Michael Eilberg: How to ride a square halt 03:35 Michael Eilberg: introducing collection in canter 05:01 Michael Eilberg: teaching your horse to rein back 05:03 Watch Farouche's winning test at the BD nationals 05:44

Horse & Hound brings you stories with a difference from the British Dressage NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury (12-16 April)

You could have forgiven Tania Grantham if she ever felt like perhaps competing at the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships at Hartpury (13 April) just wasn’t meant to be.

Her 11-year-old gelding, Samarino, with whom she was contesting the Petplan prix st georges area festival final, has a rare skin condition, that just a week before the championships, prevented Tania from riding him.

“I can’t pronounce or spell the skin problem he has, but it’s basically a bacterial infection in his saddle area that sometimes comes out in spots where there is heat and friction — it’s not ideal!” explains Tania.

For two days last week ‘Sam’ couldn’t be ridden in preparation for the finals.

“On Monday, some sensitive spots came up underneath where both a saddle and roller would go. I wasn’t about to ride him bareback!” she laughs. “So I just had to lunge him without anything on his back. Thankfully by the end of last week, the spots had cleared up and I could ride him again, but it wasn’t perfect preparation.”

Tania Grantham riding Samarino

But Tania’s bumpy road to Hartpury didn’t stop there. Having left her base near Guildford at midday with Sam who “isn’t the best traveller”, her horsebox broke down six miles from the championships.

“We had been travelling for three-and-a-half hours and suddenly I couldn’t get my lorry to go,” says Tania. “We sat on the roadside for two hours waiting for vehicle recovery to arrive, but unfortunately he could only get the horsebox going in first gear. So I drove the final six miles to Hartpury in first gear with the mechanic sitting behind me — sorry to anyone we held up!”

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Tania finally arrived at Hartpury at 6pm.

“I’m so grateful to everyone that helped us out,” says Tania who went on to score a personal best score in the prix st georges with Sam for a score of 67.85% for fourth place.

For a full report from the British Dressage winter championships and the Area Festival final — as well as news, views and expert comment — pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine next Thursday (20 April).