“At Harolds Park Farm, Essex (31 July), Vicky Westcott and her ‘hairy pony’ Ad Lib III won both elementaries on over 65% – their personal best scores to date.
Vicky said: ‘He’s a 15hh piebald Romany cob with full feathers and a full mane. He thinks he’s very handsome. When we go around the arena before entering he always turns to the judge at C and gives a little “nod and a wink”.
‘He’s so enthusiastic and forward I can have a braking issue in the simple changes, because he doesn’t like the idea of walking. But today I got a seven for one.’

Horse & Hound, 11 August 2011. This, I think, is the point of dressage – to get any horse going beautifully, whether he’s an 18hh expensive warmblood from the continent or a two-bob-cob with legs like Afghan hounds. When I was on holiday in Scotland earlier this year I had a lovely chat in one B&B with a dressage enthusiast who said she’d overheard an old horseman complaining  that you couldn’t get hold of Shire horses these days, ‘because all these bloody women buy them for dressage.’

(thank you to Estelle for the headline pun)

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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  1. I love that elderly man’s statement, and how it reflects a world in which obtaining a Shire is a difficulty…can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone in my existence complaining about the lack of Shires! I recall seeing a small person on a Shire having a riding lesson at a stable when I visited England–quite a sight.

  2. Sad to think that such a magnificent breed should be endangered. There used to be a place in the midwestern United States called Shire World–I guess it was a farm that expanded to take in tourists to help provide room and board for its horses–and I’ll always regret not stopping there while driving cross-country two decades ago. (It appears to be gone now. Couldn’t convince anyone else in the car to pause there, alas. Lesson learned: only travel with equine enthusiasts.)

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