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Thoroughbred splashes out
10:10am Saturday 5th June 2010 in Features
The Spring Bank Holiday Trail Ride had been going so well. But ex-racehorses can be sensitive souls and the happy activity at The Craven Splash unsettled Adelphi Warrior.
“Flippin’ ’eck! I’m not a ruddy dodgem,” said Daniel as the tall chestnut thoroughbred reversed at speed, squashing the little chap against a gate and throwing Sophie’s complimentary fruit punch everywhere.
We feared the worst at Craven Country Ride’s water complex after our new arrival refused to go near a puddle on the yard. To our surprise, it took little encouragement from Steve to persuade him to join in the aquatic fun. Soon he was pawing at the water and wading through with Daniel and Mrs Horse.
Adelphi Warrior began Monday’s outing in a state of nervous excitement, sweating and jogging when he saw the line of fences in the first field.
But he settled down to enjoy the rolling miles of Dales grassland and woods, cantering smoothly up hills and jumping small logs. Although he is bigger, faster and more athletic than any horse we have ridden before, if we keep him, Steve hopes the pair could form a real competitive partnership.
We are well aware a former point-to-point racer is a big step up and we have taken him warily through a preliminary exercise programme. It has included controlled canters in the cross-country field and quiet hacks down the lane, alone and in company, and tackling a couple of small crossbars in the showjump field.
On Sunday, Steve sought professional help. Local event rider David Elms, still hobbling after a crashing fall, took time out from his recuperation to offer advice.
We have to see if the prancing thoroughbred, more used to galloping at 4ft 6in steeplechase fences, can adjust to our more modest ambitions.
David also put Daniel and Sophie through their paces. The teenager’s determined riding prompted an unusually athletic response from the lazy chap.
“Blimey, she’s gettin’ as bad as Auntie Esme,” said Daniel, bucking crossly in protest at a smack to sharpen him up.
Esme’s strict regime saw a reluctant young Daniel firmly put through his paces to collect a series of unlikely showjumping rosettes, including third place in the Novice class at last year’s Malham Show.
Sophie was taking a break from her studies, but still has three more weeks of GCSE exams. Esme, after months of intensive university work, should be competing again at the weekend.
Unfortunately, the Land Rover is at the garage again after developing problems. We can only hope the clutch will be fixed in time for Silsden Show on Sunday.
Steve Wright & Jenny Loweth