HRH CHUKI - 17hh Dutch Warmblood - Gelding
Words cannot describe this horse... He is my world, my rock, my confidant! I worked for a lady producing youngsters and Chuki came in as a swap for a brood mare who had damaged her eye. He was a completely upside down, gangly (one could even say, ugly) crazy colt. WOW, he was hard work… He pushed everyone to their limits and was nearly a lost cause. I then took a very natural and even more patient approach with him. This is where my love and understanding of horses truly took hold. A few years later this now 16.3hh 3 yr old was the most wonderful person you would have the pleasure of meeting. As was always the plan, Chuki was then offered for sale. Well, this broke me… there is no way on earth that we could afford him and his talent was just amazing. Months went by and Chuki hadn’t sold. It became apparent that he wasn’t too keen on other people and we had found a small sarcoid. Within this time, I had sadly had to say goodbye to Jakson (my then horse) as his arthritis was too much for him to deal with at the age of 27. I had announced to my husband that I couldn’t put myself through this again and I didn’t want any more horses. Unbeknown to me he had already purchased Chuki (the most amazing man) and this is where our story began.
It took me a while to learn to ride him and hold him together as he was now standing at 17hh and quite long (I’m 5’4”). After years of starting him and understanding each other, we started off with low level jumping, hunter trials and workers. We went from strength to strength, eventually putting ourselves forward for HOYS Working Hunter Qualifiers. He was superb, clear most times out, but sadly his length and his dipped back set us down the line in the conformation… so sadly we never made it…. but WOW! We had the best journey (and unlimited amounts of champagne for me) trying… Chuki has now been diagnosed with Ataxia and is therefore pretty much retired. He enjoys a walk out to keep him ticking over and to keep us both together.
Chuki sadly earned his angel wings last year and so sadly left my world to grace another with his dignity and beauty intact!! I still miss him more than I can express and it still makes me cry to write this. He was my best teacher and my very best friend!!!
HRH RENKUM DERRICK - 17.2hh (and still growing) Oldenburg x - Gelding
Oh wow!!! I find Derrick. Big, black, four white socks, stunning Renkum Oldenburg wait for it……)by Clydesdale… But no other than Wiston Bridget. Just backed and starting his education… Off I go to look… Oh man, He is stunning! Underweight and a listless but never the less stunning. My first sit on Derrick and WOW! WOW! WOW! He’s out of this world. A little lethargic but the few big elevated steps I got were enough to know what was to come. Yes, you guessed it….. Hubby had the dreaded phone call and the very fortunate me has put a deposit on him to stop any more viewings (as there were a few after me).
HRH Derrick arrives home, a nice bath, good food and plenty of TLC, it’s time… up I get. WOW! It’s just as good and some. Now this stunning animal has energy, the want to move forward and a very pleasing nature. Weeks of training went by and I take Derrick to his first unaffiliated dressage. I mount, I warm up (In a very small area on a huge baby). It’s my turn… In we go, balance isn’t the best but I’m holding him together the best I can. We get round and I cry as I leave the arena.. Yes… cry! Shear relief, I think. Results are up.. You’re not going to believe it….. 1st on 76% !!!!!!!!!!! Maybe it’s a fluke? I am dumbfounded. I enter more….. every time scores in the 70’s. So we step it up a level and brave the canter…. Will he didn’t disappoint, 1st time out 4th, then another 3 x 1st’s until the worse happens….. Derrick injures himself. He has a puncture wound just below the kneecap. This was a complete nightmare, it was drained and stitched asap, but he still managed to get an infection. A month or so later, the healing process is going well. We are resting away and the girls go onto the yard to what looks to have been chainsaw massacre. You guessed it… Again… Big D has nearly ripped his tongue off. Six stitches later and having to bathe his tongue in salt water for 5 days and no hard feed. It’s all becoming quite challenging.
As you can imagine, not much was happening with Derrick for the foreseeable future. I was devastated!!!
I am pleased to say, we are now a very long way down the road to recovery and hopefully coming out the other end. We will be on the fitness wagon and aiming our sites high!!!
Derrick, healed well and came back into work with a wonderful attitude..... Many weeks later of walk work and regaining his fitness, we head back out to dressage and he is awesome coming home in the 70's and a lovely first rosette. As amazing as he was, I felt that he didn't feel the strongest or still the most balanced. After lots of deliberation, I made the decision to turn him away and let him grow into himself........ OH MY WORD..... Didn't he just!!!!! Derrick became stronger and stronger and bigger & bigger (believe it or not)? So, now was the time to start yet again to bring him back into work.
Derrick went through the usual routine of walk work and fitness training and as he became fitter he became slightly harder to keep together. He rode beautifully and was still like the equivalent of driving a Ferrari or Aston Martin. He is just a GIANT... He must be 18hh+, I was just never keen to measure him as I didn't really want to know.
As the work level increased and became more intense he found it within himself to realise how massive he was and tiny I am and when he said 'No' my little sticks and whatever strength I had in me wasn't enough to give him the confidence to continue concentrating and continue with his work... as you can imagine, this wasn't the best and didn't end too well....
My beautiful beast of a boy is now having to find a new vocation in life and I will update you all once he has decided what this may be.. I have my thoughts, hopes and dreams for him... We are just enquiring and waiting............ Watch this space................
WOW!! What an outcome for both Derrick & myself. After many conversations and and putting my mind at rest. I gifted The Big D to the Mounted Police Force where he went to Imber Court to undertake training. They would test his abilities and put him through his paces. Even with all of his groundwork, I was still a little apprehensive. He had been there only one day and had been spotted my many who fancied him for their forever partner. One lady in particular took a massive fancy to him and was adamant that he would be hers. (I was hoping as he would much rather a Mummy than a Daddy).. After many threats of all kinds, this lady then got her way. She took on Derrick. This lady is Mel.
After a week we went along to visit him and give him love and cuddles and see how he was settling. WOW! He was so happy! We were treated like royalty and shown all around, even in the most amazing museum! We were then surprised again as Russell (the main man) told us a story about an officer that had passed away and they were waiting for a horse to come in to commend him with his name. They asked if I would like it to be Derrick! YES!!! I shed a tear (Ok.. sobbed). His stable name is still Derrick, but he is professionally known as PH Valiant!!
He has completed all of his training, excelling at everything. He then went out on patrol and made two arrest within 2 weeks and even had his own write up.
He has gone from strength to strength and now works out of an inner London stables and attends many events, Winter Wonderland, Wimbledon Tennis, patrolled London New Years Eve and football the following day! He is absolutely thriving and has definitely found his calling in life! I will try and do a blog for Team Valiant to keep you updated!
The best part of it all... when he retires, he gets to come home and live out his years with us! I may have a fight on my hands with Mel!!
HRH KENNETH - 17.2hh Akhele-Theke - Gelding
Another very spoiled moment for me. I had seen his sorry, emaciated little butt being advertised from the same person as Derrick. So I tag my husband in said advert with “ I would like” nothing else was said for a week or so until my phone alerted me of another comment on the post and he was ‘SOLD’. I was a gutted as he was a stunner. I sat at the dinner table surrounded by friends and let out a sigh…. I was asked what was wrong, I just pointed out that the lovely yellow horse had sold. Nothing else said apart from, ‘there’ll be another’…. Later that evening my hubby text me (a little odd, I thought). The message read.. ‘Is this the one that sold? The one that now belongs to you’…. Well for the first time EVER… I had no words.
My initial reaction was excitement, until a wave of terror hit me. My husband has just bought a 17hh stallion that we hadn’t even met. I am really putting my faith in the seller now…. We go to see him the following day … WOW! He is a stunner, but OH MY, is he thin. There was just nothing there, his expression was blank and not an ounce of meat on him! Not the best purchase in the way of getting out competing asap, but what he is, is a phenomenal project and a challenge to create a lovely, happy horse with a happy life. So far, his journey has been a good one, a little slow as a few obstacles to manoeuvre around. He was (still is a little) very weak behind, he couldn’t stand the contact AT ALL!! And his back was a little sore. So, plan of action…. Physio, Lucy Gover comes to visit him on a regular basis, he also had a full MOT everywhere else; teeth, feet, wormer, tack and diet - onto the same feed as my others; Pure Feed. We work him gently from the ground and what a difference a few weeks makes. He had put 200kg on!! We have continued to work him and started ridden exercise and he is starting to settle into a continuous way of going and I have very high hopes… Ridden foreign breeds and dressage here we come… Who knows what other abilities he will have? He loves a jump so may event mid-season once his fitness improves. Happy days and lots to look forward to.
I gifted the very handsome and wonderful Kenneth to our lovely friend and now apprentice Madi for Christmas 2021. She has spent the past few months taking the time to bond with him and getting to know each other. They took part in their first dressage test this weekend coming home with a very respecatble score. I'm very excited for both of their futures. A combination to watch.