Cute, not competitive

5:42pm Monday 28th June 2010

Adelphi Warrior was an unlikely exchange for Baby Horse after he landed his owner, Mark, in hospital. He recalls the tall chestnut thoroughbred rearing up – before he came round in the local infirmary.

The last thing Jenny wanted was a racehorse, let alone a large and potentially lethal one. In the first few days following his arrival, she confidently expected him to seriously harm us.

But Steve was smitten with him and it would have broken his heart to send him back. In the month he has been with us, the ex-steeplechaser, (known at home as Alexander), has changed from explosively edgy to suspiciously chilled-out, peeping meekly out at the world from under his straggling ginger fringe.

Increasingly we have found him happily lying down in his stable, more cute than competitive.

He has overcome his initial worries at all things new, to obediently stand on the washing slats, lunge in the school and revolve around the horse walker – though The Boss was unimpressed when he caught Steve going round inside the contraption to keep his new friend company.

“He’s not even wearing a riding hat,” said The Boss, stomping off.

Fearing the steadier regime and flow of treats could be taking the edge off his racehorse – surely more vim was expected from a chap whose dad was sixth in the Derby? – Steve decided to act.

He began stuffing Alexander with oats left over from the Baby Horse era.

On Sunday, the regime kicked in when Alexander excitedly bucked off Steve after exuberantly leaping a fence in the cross-country field.

Jenny watched in dismay as the racer hurtled riderless up the meadow. In four seconds he had shown more dash than in the previous four weeks!

A Lady at the Yard was thankfully on hand. Lorraine broke off from giving a jumping lesson to catch hold of Alexander as he stopped to say hello to a group of horses over the fence.

Steve lost his hat silk and whip and suffered a minor finger injury in the fall, but was delighted with the racehorse’s show of speed and spirit. “That was great,” he beamed, hobbling back into the yard. “If Keith can get bucked off, so can I!” referring to our friend, event rider Keith Rosier’s tumble from his horse, Black Jack, a couple of months ago.

Meanwhile, Daniel has lost his third fly mask in the field. After wriggling out of his hated powder blue and red-braided hats – determinedly rubbing against large tree branches to remove them – the cheeky chap borrowed Alexander’s posh gold number. Now that has also gone missing.

“Them ’ats are droppin’ like flies,” said Daniel contentedly.

Steve Wright and Jenny Loweth

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