I was once told that my horse would never make an event horse – he is too big, heavy and his feet are too large. The man who told me this was, and still is a very ‘big name’ in the eventing world, and who incidentally was stood at the finish line as we completed our first CIC*** at Bramham horse trials last year. How wrong he was!
So a bit about me, I (Charlotte Brear) am a 27 year girl who learnt to ride at my local riding school when I was young and instantly feel in love with everything horse related. I was very lucky and got offered a pony to loan though a friend of my instructor, and it is this yard I have to thank for my success in eventing. The lady who bred and owned the pony I loaned (who I adored, disliked and worshipped all at the same time!) had a sweet and gentle shire mare who she decided to bred from – and that’s where my superstar came from! No fancy breeding just a normal, if not rather large, foal. I was instantly in love and couldn’t spend enough time with him. His breaking process wasn’t complex (he is the only horse I have ever broken in but I doubt they are all like him!) – we put his saddle and bridle on and off we went.
So back to me – I work full time for the family business repairing gearboxes. I went to university in London for 4 years to study Veterinary Nursing, but 4 years after graduating and working for 8 years at the same practice, I decided on a change of career. I class myself as a true amateur (work full time and only have one horse) and I think this is a massive help as we have no pressure. I pay for my own entries, livery, feed et – the list goes on, so if it goes wrong it doesn’t matter. When we go to competitions it is just my mum (chief tidier, tea maker, nerve settler, polo feeder) and Jake the wagon Labrador (chief course walking assistant, lucky mascot and a very good distraction).
My horse and I completed our first CCI*** this year, which qualified us for CCI****. I am still unsure whether to have a go at Burghley this year, but after the recent news about my friend and trainer Ben Hobday I am of the opinion I would be stupid not to have a go whilst I have the chance. I would prefer to regret having a go, rather than regret not trying it at all. I am well aware we will probably be down the pecking order in the dressage, but the fun and exhilaration of the jumping phases would cancel out any disappointment.
In the meantime we have the Gatcombe British Open Championships where it really is the who’s who of the eventing world competing against each other . It is in the most beautiful setting, and is definitely one of my favourites! I hope to give everyone an insight to what it’s like eventing against the ‘big names’, following them on the cross country and hopefully beating them on my big, gangly superstar shire!
Photos thanks to Nick Gill Photography