Our Horse Of The Week is Percy. His owner, Dawn Taylor-Hawkins explains: “Witchcombe Purple Rain is now aged 10. Also known as Percy and at home, PP and “Perfect Percy” quite a lot of the time too! We have owned Percy for just over 2 years. I own Percy, but his Rider is my son Elliott Taylor-Hawkins aged 18 as of 17th September.”
“Percy is mostly Thoroughbred, a quarter American Paint Horse and a quarter Shire. We feel the Thoroughbred gives him his stamina and speed for a great Cross Country round within the optimum time. The American Paint Horse gives Percy the nobility and amazing presence he has. The Shire within him perhaps gives him the bone and sure footedness; continual soundness (touching Wood); possibly the marvellous “Teddy Bear” temperament; reliability; steadiness; and above all, the most incredible good attitude to work. Percy is black and a good 17 hands high. Lovely big fronted Event type.”
“An absolute Gentleman of a horse, his old owner contacted us just over 3 years ago, feeling that Percy would be the right horse for my son then aged 15 to start Eventing on, she felt the combination would be perfect. We turned her down at first as at 17hh, I personally felt he was too big for a teenage lad, we were looking for 16.2hh no bigger. A year later Elliott grew so much, it was clear at just over 6ft we would be needing a horse of Percy’s size after all! Elliott started riding at age 11, and he joined his local Pony Club, The Dartmoor Hunt. He did Triathlon, and all the usual wonderful Pony Club things including in the early days Mounted Games which was terrific fun on his little speedy pony. Percy was purchased with the view that he and Elliott would start off their Eventing career together, Percy had not competed significantly and was used as a Hunter before having a break when his Rider emigrated to New Zealand.”
“Percy has a natural air of nobility about him, the most beautiful black horse with just one tiny white sock. We really have found our very own Black Beauty! Percy loves everybody, he adores children and makes a big fuss of the Yard Cats. Mischievous in personality, playful Percy likes to make his presence known at all times, demanding attention and being so gentle and loving, he really is like a big, soppy, black Labrador!”
“After a bit of a settling in period, Elliott got to work on Percy, introducing him to flatwork, finding out very quickly that Percy’s least favourite discipline really is flatwork!
“We quickly found out that Percy has a really scopey jump as promised, but he lacked the basics, taking huge leaps and removing strides etc. So, Elliott and his instructor worked very hard taking things right back to the beginning. The dreaded trotting poles and grid work, including low poles to improve his basic technique. Cross Country is the real area Percy excels in, he is bold and fearless, he likes to get into a lovely natural rhythm, covering the ground easily with a super big stride. He is always focused, with an eye on the next viewable jump, helped no doubt by his early days Hunting on Dartmoor in all terrains and conditions. So, after months of preparation Elliott and Percy had their very first Event, a BE90 at Launceston in Cornwall. Being placed 6th gave them the encouragement to keep going, they were placed 3 times in 5 outings last season. Percy and Elliott also competed at the National Pony Club Championships at Cholmondeley Castle in August 2015, their Novice Eventing Team being placed 8th. What a wonderful, proud day for all, including the Mums!”
“This 2016 season, they have progressed within British Eventing to BE100 level. Five outings so far this season has seen them placed every time after consistent Double Clears! The highlight being 6th place at Bicton International. Whilst Percy still needs work on his Dressage, his Showjumping skills are very good and the hilly terrain, beautiful flowing course and technicality of the Cross Country at Bicton really suited him.”
“Elliott, Percy, and their team mates, Dizzy and Jas on their horses, came 2nd in the Pony Club Eventing Intermediate Areas 2016. Sadly, not quite high enough to get to Championships this year, but there is always next year! Elliott hopes by then he and Percy will be competing at Open Level. Elliott’s dream with Percy, is to compete at Badminton Grassroots 100 level, the Grassroots Regional Finals are late September 2016 in Dorset, just the week after Elliott turns 18 years of age. We have everything crossed for them that they will qualify, if not there is always next year!”
“There is loads of work to be done still with the Dressage, as Eventing success very much relies on a good Dressage score as well as a Double Clear of course. If Elliott and Percy are lucky enough to qualify for Badminton Grassroots they will then go right onto BE Novice level. Their next challenge. We are all so thrilled with Percy “a bit of low level Eventing” we thought! Whatever we ask of Percy he rises to the challenge and beyond. They really are on their way and it’s such early days too!”
Percy struggles at times with the necessary balance and flexibility at times within Dressage only, not at all visible within any other discipline. Our Physio who works with Percy regularly, recommended Feedmark’s ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips. She has used it with her own horses and has been very pleased with the results. We tried it, and after just a few weeks our Dressage Instructor noticed a real improvement. When we explained that we had started using the supplement she was amazed! We are very pleased with the results, in fact at one stage we had a gap from using the ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips and we definitely noticed a difference. We wouldn’t use anything else now. Although several people have suggested different brands that they rely on, we like to use the one we have tried and tested for ourselves and have definitely seen results with! The proof is in the pudding so to speak, after all. Thank you Feedmark!”
A FREE tub of ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips is on its way to Percy for being our Horse Of The Week!
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