Welcome to our feature, 10 minutes in the tackroom. This is a regular feature where we ask riders, businesses and charities 12 questions and they have a maximum of 10 minutes to answer them.
This week in the saddle we have Roberta Sheffield. Bert is a successful Canadian Paralympian based in Leicester.
Tell us about your horse!
I have 3 horses currently in work – Double Agent, known as Darcy who was my horse at the Rio Paralympics.
I am hoping that Fairuza, known as WonkyHorse, will be my Tokyo ride. And then my youngster St Sheri, Bunny to her friends who is just starting her ridden career.
My first international horse, Wonderboy (Whoop) will be coming home soon after having been on schoolmaster duty with a very talented young rider.
Photo by Kevin Sparrow
Tell us a horse joke!
Which 4 letter describe a hungry horse?
M T GG
What do you do when you aren’t with your horse?
Drink a lot of coffee! Teach other people on their horses or playing with my dog, Burghley.
What do you love about the horsey community?
I get a buzz working together with like-minded people who genuinely love what they do. Being passionate about doing the best for your horse brings about some truly magical moments. As a community we share the elation and the heart ache of horses.
Photo by Rich Neale
What do you dislike about the horsey community?
I can’t stand people who treat their horses as ‘tennis rackets’, a horse is not primarily a piece of sports equipment . There’s nothing nice about seeing a horse being a victim of a rider’s ego. The mental and physical welfare of the horse is so important, the horse’s cooperation shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Do your family share your passion of horses?
My mother is still involved with horses, both as a showing and a BD dressage judge. She has competed in many different disciplines in the UK and abroad.
Tell us your funniest horse related story!
No so good with funny stories, most of the humour around my horses is rather physical! Here’s a cute but tragic one.
One of the Welsh Cobs that I showed as a teenager, who cribbed continuously, used to have ‘pets’. For many years she had a cat that lived with her. This cat used sleep on her and use her as a hunting viewing platform. When she wasn’t wearing rugs and cribbed the cat used to stick its claws in her (she would briefly stop but never eject her cat). She was, however, quite needle shy so when our vet came to do her annual vaccinations, he pulled the rug back, making the cat hang on as he jabbed her. She didn’t even flinch! I thought it was a niffy little trick.
In later years the cob acquired a pet rooster that took up residence in her stable. He was an elderly fellow and one morning we found him flattened in her bed. I hope he died before she sat on him. That particular cob, somehow, used to attract other animals to live with her.
Who is your favourite famous horse rider?
Reiner Klimke – always! Beautiful to watch, no nasty pictures, no ‘moments in time’ just beautiful harmonious riding.
Read more about Reiner Klimke here.
Who is your favourite famous horse?
Verdades with Laura Graves as he looks the spit of my younger horse Wonky. Love that stronger type of horse and their harmonious but very powerful performances.
Read more about Verdades here.
How many times have you fallen off?
Too many!!! I have to be careful as my joints shatter these days. One of the disadvantages of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the neck is that it makes the vertebrae fragile so the risk of a broken neck or spinal cord injury is increased.
What horsey product can’t you live without?
I am very particular about saddles! I love my Bliss of London Paramour dressage saddles. They are so well made to fit each of my horses. It is no good being unstable, out of balance or uncomfortable in the saddle as a rider and it doesn’t do the horse any good either.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!
I used to be a rock guitarist before my RA stopped my fingers working well enough.
Well done Bert you have completed the 10 minutes in the tackroom challenge. If you would like to take part in the challenge, email firstname.lastname@example.org.