Making wishes come true…
In January 2013, our members' magazine, British Horse, launched our Grant a Wish competition to spread a little cheer through what, let’s face it, has been rather a trying time to be a horse owner. Throughout 2013 we will offer dream prizes to those we feel deserve them most. From brave horses to inspiring riders, we’re seeking the real heroes of the horse world.
The winner of our ‘Grant a Wish’ feature this issue is Lucy Faragher, who was chosen by our panel as ‘an inspirational young person whose career aspirations could be helped by a lesson with International three day event rider, Flora Harris.’
Read on for how you could win our next prize, a ticket to watch dressage at Blenheim plus a XC walk with a top rider and amazing new gear, and Lucy's winning story…
“After saving for two years, in 2008 I bought my first pony, Joey, a very green seven-year-old 14.2hh cob. We became an active member of The Pony Club, where I discovered my passion for Eventing.
“In 2011 we were Eventing and Showjumping up to 90cm and enjoying much success – our competition season had been the best yet with many double clears and placings; including our last event at Chilham Park ODE where we were placed sixth.
“In early 2012 I was looking forward to another exciting season of Eventing. We had been out Showjumping and won the 80cm, we had travelled to Golden Cross for an indoor hunter trail; unfortunately, this was Joey’s last event. We had jumped half the course when I decided to retire him. I had never done this before. We’d had many poles down, which was unlike Joey, his behaviour had changed. A week later he was lame.
“Nerve blocks and x-rays revealed Joey had side bones in both front feet and in the left foot, one had fractured. This meant Joey had to have five months of box rest and would only ever be a happy hack in the future. My dreams of Eventing with Joey had come to an abrupt end.
“My spring was filled with several catch rides and trying to keep Joey happy in his stable, as well as working extra hours at my part-time job. It was a particularly hard time for my mum and I – we had watched our horse go from living life to the full to just existing in a stable.
“While Joey was enduring his box rest I saved up enough money from my part-time job to buy an unbacked three-year-old from Staffordshire called Henry, my future Event prospect.
“Once Joey completed box rest, I slowly bought him back to hacking. I remember thinking how weak and vulnerable he felt when I was riding him and that just a year ago he was flying round cross-country courses. Things had changed so quickly.
“I backed Henry in the August and Joey offered an experienced and confident lead, so my mum and I could hack together. In September I started university, studying a degree in Foundation Science Equine Management. I hope to gain my full degree in 2015, as well as continuing my BHS stages.
“By November Joey wasn’t as sound as we had hoped, so the vet came to review him. My mum and I explained to the vet that we could not hack him two days in a row without him becoming unsound. The vet agreed this was unusual despite his side bones, and referred Joey for an MRI scan.
“Christmas was almost upon us and Henry had been turned away, leaving me to hack Joey a couple of times a week to keep him ticking over before his MRI scan in early January.
“That was when tragedy struck. My dad, aged only 59, unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack on 27 December 2012. My world came crashing down. This was the most difficult time I had ever experienced during my life of 18 years.
“During the dark times I went through, my horses helped me more than any person could have. They offered me comfort and companionship, structure in my life, which had been turned upside down, and an escape, where I could be just a normal 18-year-old, forgetting the emotional turmoil in my life.
“We went ahead with Joey’s MRI, despite it being so soon after my dad passing away. However, this just brought more bad news, as Joey had more issues than we had realised. The list included Pedalosteitis, Navicular disease, Osteoarthritis and tendon and ligament damage.
“Joey has a home with us for ever and is still enjoying hacking out a couple of times a week without any Bute. Henry has now got his first dressage competition and cross-country schooling lined up and I’m still studying my FdSc Equine Management, continuing my work experience placement at a dressage yard, looking after both my horses and working part-time.
“Losing my Dad has made me more determined and ambitious to make him proud and to achieve my dream of Eventing at 4* level. A lesson with Flora Harris would help me enormously on my journey to becoming an International Eventer, which my brave little pony started.”
The next prize
For our next Grant a Wish prize, some of Britain’s top equestrian brands have joined together to offer one lucky winner a day to remember. We have two tickets to see the Dressage at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials on 12-15 September for the winner and a friend.
As if that wasn’t enough, they will have a course walk of the cross-country course with a top rider, and a chance to meet some of the riders behind the scenes. Then, our winner will be specially fitted for a Gatehouse hat and a Rodney Powell body protector as part of their prize. And to top the whole thing off, they will also take home a super smart Blouson jacket from the Mark Todd collection.
So who will be our winner? This time, we are looking for a true unsung hero – someone who has made a real difference to you or your horse and deserves a very special treat. It may be your instructor, the owner of your livery yard or a friend or colleague who has gone the extra mile to be there for you.
We would love to hear your stories, so you need to tell us – in no more than 800 words – why the person you are nominating deserves to win our fabulous prize. Send your entry to Grant a Wish competition, The British Horse Society Communications Department, Abbey Park, Stareton, Kenilworth CV8 2XZ, to arrive no later than midday on Monday 3 June 2013. Alternatively, you can enter via email at email@example.com – please put ‘Grant a Wish’ in the subject box. The same closing date applies.
* The winning story will be published in the next issue of British Horse. If you are successful you will need to supply at least one high resolution image to accompany the story.