I moved school for 6th Form so I could spend more time riding. It saved my parents a small fortune on school fees. The school fees they saved were invested in Smarty. I’m sure he opened up far more opportunities than an expensive school could!
My trainer at that time was Caron Roberts. She had a brilliant eye for a horse and knew Smarty was perfect for me. He’d been ridden for the past 2 years by a teenage boy who was too tall for his thoroughbred frame.
We hit it off immediately. He jumps for fun, looks for the flags and we won our first BE100 despite coming through a skinny combination with me hanging around his neck.
I’m sure his ability to look after himself so well cross country comes from constantly being on a state of full alert and a strong desire to look after himself. A typical ginger, he tries incredibly hard to control himself. 99% of the time he manages, but just occasionally his nerves get the better of him and warming up isn’t an option. It doesn’t tend to effect his performance and some of our best results have come when he’s had no warm up.
After winning the 2017 British Junior Championships at Brand Hall we represented GB at Millstreet in 2017 and Fountainebleu in 2018 where he won team silver and individual 5th.
Every bit of logic says I should sell him, but I have never had so much fun as I have on him. The first time Austin O’Connor watched me jumping him he observed that I looked like a “kid having fun on her pony” and he was absolutely right!