Welcome to my new regular blog feature. Every week there is a horse that shines through for me and my staff, and we will be sharing their stories with you.
It might be a horse that is going brilliantly in the school, or one that has given a beginner rider their first canter out on the Chase. We will choose one every week for you.
Oberon Foppe – our very own Black Beauty
And because I am the boss, I get first pick! My choice is our gorgeous new boy Oberon Foppe, a pure bred Friesian whose origins are in Holland and who has only been in this country for a year. After hearing a little of his history his is a real Black Beauty story that I want to share with you.
His name was simply Foppe, but as you all know, I like a great sounding name and so I double barrelled it by adding Oberon.
I have always firmly believed that there are some horses that are destined to be mine and I think he is one of them. He has found the place where he needs to be.
For a little while, I have been on the lookout for a new member of my team. I had seen a few, but had not really felt the connection with them that I really need to experience before I buy and had come home disappointed.
However, I had noticed that a friend of ours who sells quality sports horses on behalf of their owners had on her yard a beautiful Friesian gelding.
I had been looking for a big weight carrier type. Now I was considering something completely different!
Something just drew me to him, and it was quite an impulsive buy. I was negotiating before I actually saw him, but my friend assured me his paces and jumping were fabulous and I trust her judgement.
Even more beautiful than his photos
I went over to her yard with my horse box and as soon as I saw Oberon in his stable I was shocked. He was even more beautiful than his photos! He turned and looked straight at me and he reminded me instantly of my stallion Zidane, the horse with whom I have the closest relationship.
Oberon came straight home with me and I felt him totally relax as soon as he arrived. Within ten minutes, I was riding him in the arena. I was blown away by his sensational paces! At some stage in his past, he has received a really good education.
Although I had been told he had done very little hacking, I took him out on Cannock Chase the next day at the height of Storm Hannah. He led a ride of 20 through the gales and rain, and loved every minute of it! He was so excited but his behaviour was perfect.
Within a couple of days, the lady who had owned Oberon contacted me and I asked her for more information about him. She came to visit and was delighted to see him looking relaxed and happy.
She told me she had bought him from someone in Worcester who had bought him from a seller in London. The Worcester owners told her that when they went to view him he was on a yard where meat products were hung around his stable.
The new buyers then acquired him as a driving horse, but when he was put in harness he went crazy and turned the carriage over, injuring himself and the driver.
So, he has had a couple of bad experiences and when she brought him home she found him to be very nervous. He didn’t settle well and she struggled to handle him on the ground, with him breaking free a few times. Eventually, she made the sad decision that she needed to find the right home for him.
Oberon – totally relaxed in his new environment
He came here, and from my point of view I see a horse that is totally relaxed in his new environment. He has never tried to pull or barge, he loves to hack out and his work in the school is fabulous. I think he has found his happy place.
He has fantastic breeding and my next aim is to track down his past. How did he end up on that yard in London? He has many behavioural traits like my stallion Zidane, and I am convinced that he was an entire for quite some time.
Oberon is loving his new life and I really enjoyed turning him out with the herd. He was so excited to run free in our fields and he really showed off his spectacular moves! Our photographer Tim was able to capture some fabulous shots.
Unfortunately, whilst enjoying himself out in the fields with the rest of the herd, he managed to injure one of his hocks, so he has been off work recuperating for a while, following treatment by the team at Pool House Equine Clinic. As of next week, we will be bringing him back into work gently, so you should see him out on the treks again very soon.