So as this is my first blog being part of #TeamEquissimo, I thought I would give you a bit of background into how I ended up with Sharp!
From January 2004 until January 2016 I lived in South Africa, and worked as a qualified South African Horseback safari guide – I had an amazing time in my guiding days and it’s how I met my husband, and also where I discovered my love of Dressage! As a child all I wanted to do was become an eventer or Show jumper, but in reality, I never had the guts for jumping any higher than 2ft 6, although I have previously jumped 3ft 9, its not something that I wanted to carry on with! So there went my dreams of being an eventer!!
As a guide you work long hours and are effectively on call for your guests whenever they want, it’s good fun, but you get burnt out after a few years, and Ross (my husband) had also decided that he wanted to give up guiding too, so we ended up on a game farm, where I was able to set up my own livery yard and facilities to rehabilitate and retrain ex racehorses off the track into their second careers! And this is how I found Sharp. He was originally bought as a project straight off the track in 2010 as a turning 6-year-old, and was meant to be retrained and sold on, however for many reasons, that I won’t go into now, he wasn’t sold and I decided to keep him.
It certainly hasn’t been an easy 9 years with him. I have never ever met a horse who disliked humans as much as he did when we first got him. So many people in the first year I owned him told me to sell him as he was dangerous, but I knew he wasn’t, and that he was just defending himself… now call me stupid, but I wanted to figure out the puzzle that was Sharp and show everyone that he really wasn’t a nasty horse – he has his quirks, but he genuinely is an amazing loving horse.
When we made the decision to up sticks and move back to the UK, I had put 5 hard years of blood sweat and tears into Sharp and when most would have given up on him, I had just debuted at Elementary Level on him. I just couldn’t give up on him and sell him, so I found a way to export him from SA and bring him with me to the UK, it wasn’t cheap, but it certainly was worth it! However I did think long and hard about whether it was right for Sharp, as his journey involved a month’s quarantine in Cape Town, before being flown
– yep you read that right – Flown to Mauritius for a 3 month quarantine or as most of my family and friends referred to it, a 3 month beach holiday,
before being loaded onto another aeroplane, and flown to Belgium, where he spent 16 hours before the final part of his journey commenced in a 3.5 ton lorry onto a ferry to the UK and ending up on my doorstep (or yard) in Somerset in the UK. He wasn’t the horse that I had loaded onto the Lorry in SA to start his 4-month journey back in October 2015, he’d lost so much muscle and Top-line, but he had matured, and was certainly a well-travelled horse now. Just over 3 years on, and we are a stronger partnership than ever – we have our good and bad days, and he has his temper tantrums, but we are about to debut at Advanced Medium soon and I can honestly say that Sharp has totally adapted to life in the Northern Hemisphere, even with the snow in the winter!!
So that’s a bit about how Sharp came to be in my life in both hemispheres, I hope you all enjoy following our journey as part of #Teamequissimo 😊