After losing my last horse from a fatal injury in 2019, the search started for my new four legged partner…. I drove the length and breadth of England in search. After 2yrs I finally saw a facebook advert from Jack Thomas-Watson in Belsay Northumberland of a lovely dapple grey gelding. I made contact and dragged my husband on the 15hr round trip from Tavistock in Devon to Northumberland. Cu Chulainn Carrabawn Rebel, Bruce as he is affectionately known at home, had arrived with Jack from Ireland 2 weeks prior. He had been William John Henry’s Hunt Horse for the Meath for the past 4years. He was lean and fit but his affectionate personality shone through. I rode him out and fell in love…..
In 2022 Ellie and I were sat having coffee and I asked her if she fancied trying a bit of showing. Ellie’s horses are retired show jumpers, so she said she’d love the opportunity to get back out riding. There we have it…the start of the journey.
We had a fantastic show season in 2022, unaffiliated, attending the local agricultural shows and entering the Irish Draught classes at Three Counties and Bath & West. Bruce is definitely not straight forward but they say, no good show horse is….We had good days and bad days. Trying to educate a horse who has hunted all his ridden career was a challenge. Standing still in the ring, not trying to race everything that overtakes in the go round, not panic when a horse comes too close, even as simple as standing square stripped for the conformation judge. Bruce and Ellie’s achievements across the season exceeded all expectation winning many shows and taking 4 Supreme Championships. We ended the season at Wiltshire Show where I decided to try a bit of In-Hand showing. Bruce and I came away with Reserve Supreme, which I was totally speechless and very emotional about.
Ellie and I then discussed affiliating for 2023. With all the publicity around the new Amateur initiatives we decided to go for it. We’ve had a roller coaster of a season so far, 2nd at Royal Windsor in the Amateurs to last at the TSR Summer Show with Bruce being ‘Bruce’ and spooking with the ride judge….. At Liskeard we were thrilled to win and take Champion gaining our LIHS ticket, emotions were very high to say the least.
I have kept in touch with William John Henry who is watching Bruce’s progress with interest. He said he was the most amazing hunt horse, one of the best horses he’d had. He said he was bold across the country, never hesitating to jump dikes, ditches, hedges. He said he was very sharp as a hunter and needed lots of work but he said he never had a bad day’s hunting on him.