My horse that dreams are made of finally retires, aged 18.
Drivetime arrived at my yard in the winter of 2005. He was kindly bought for me by Lord and Lady Harris, to whom I had written a few months earlier asking whether they would be interested in supporting me in my quest to reach the top of the sport. Extraordinarily they agreed. Lord Harris told me his dream was to have a horse at the Olympics, and although Drivetime and I didn’t quite fulfil that, we came pretty damn close, being reserves for an Olympics, a World Games and two Europeans. I filled out a lot of paper work, without going to those Championships. But the journey we all shared was an exceptional one!
Drivetime was found via the late Kenneth Clawson, and bought from Sue Wilkinson. He arrived in the yard, freshly clipped out, and I spent the first three months trying to stay on! He was rarely clipped out in the winter again, he was so sharp.
2007: we were 2nd in the CIC** at Osberton and went on that spring to finish 6th in the CCI*** at Saumur. Subsequently I was invited on to the World Class Programme, of which I was to enjoy the benefits for the next 5 years.
On the back of our fantastic start to the season Drivetime and I were invited to represent Great Britain in the Nations Cup CICO*** competition at the most prestigious venue, Aachen. This is really the crème de la crème of eventing and it is a huge honour to compete there. We had the wonderful privilege to go back several times. On this occasion we finished 18th, the best was yet to come. But as experience goes it was invaluable.
We finished the season with the long trip down to Pau for Drivetime’s first 4*. He finished 15th with a solid double clear.
2008: our first trip to Badminton. He lead the dressage on the first day which was an amazing experience. For some reason though Drivetime decided he would take exception to the lake. In fact, each time we went he always wanted a second look before going through. Totally heartbreaking and hugely frustrating for me! He ended up 25th.
We were again invited to Aachen CICO***, this time finishing 14th.
We finished a very close 2nd in the CIC*** at Hartpury, narrowly missing out on winning the car! We then won an Advanced section at Burnham Market before heading down to Pau again for the CCI**** . Sadly it wasn’t meant to be and we had a crashing fall in the last water, 4 from the end, having gone fabulously all the way.
In the Autumn we won an Advanced section at Aston le Walls and then went on to WIN the CIC*** at Hartpury, and WON A CAR! The highs continued with 2nd at Blenheim CCI***. What an amazing year!!!
2010: we picked up 5th in the CIC*** Grantham Cup at Belton. I avoided Badminton this year and we went up to Bramham where he picked up 3rd in the CIC*** around a tough track.
We were yet again invited to Aachen for the Nations Cup CICO***. This time we LED the dressage and a clear in the show jumping meant we were overnight LEADERS going into xc. We picked up a few time faults which meant we finished 5th. Amongst the worlds best this was a very proud moment!
Haras du Pin 2010
We yet again travelled to Pau for the CCI****, but unfortunately I picked up a flu bug and had to withdraw.
2011: this began with the sad news that Lord Harris no longer wished to be an owner. I was lucky enough to beg and borrow enough money to secure Drivetime, some of the debts I’m still paying back today!
We picked ourselves up with a 2nd at Belton in the CIC*** Grantham Cup. Badminton was not third time lucky, and Drivetime still hated that lake, so we retired and re routed to Chatsworth CICW***. He probably felt the best he ever had that weekend. He lead from start to finish for a fantastic WIN! I was the only rider to have won the class who hadn’t represented their country at Senior Championship.
In the summer he had a quiet run around the CIC*** at Barbury and finished 13th ready for The Open at Gatcombe. After a super dressage and show jumping we were leading going in to xc, which they run in reverse order. With my foot flat to the floor, something Drivetime was never that keen on, he made a very uncharacteristic mistake and left a leg at the infamous stone wall and we came down to earth with a huge thump. Thankfully he was fine, unfortunately my collarbone wasn’t!
I was pinned back together and we made a winning return in the OI at South of England. We then headed to what turned out to be a very wet Boekelo CCI***. After a somewhat turbulent year he jumped a steady double clear, in the mud that he always detested. We finished way down the order in 28th, however we had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and when you are always fighting for the top spots at the big competitions it’s easy to forget that bit sometimes!
2012: Drivetime was now 16yrs old, and coming into the twilight of his career.
A great double clear at Hartpury CIC*** meant we picked up 11th. We then went off to Haras du Pin CICW*** where a fabulous performance left us in 5th in a high class field.
It was then to Blenheim CCI***. He produced a great test and jumped a lovely double clear, although slowing down a bit in his old age we still finished 13th.
2013: by 17yrs old anything was a bonus. Drivetime came out in great form finishing 2nd in both of his OI runs. He then went to Chatsworth for the CICW*** where a beautiful double clear meant we finished 4th.
We produced our best dressage mark at a one day that summer, with an 18 at Eridge in the OI! Sadly the ground was too hard to jump.
He didn’t feel quite the same that Autumn and we discovered he’d picked up a minor injury in his pastern. Although fully mended by this Spring, it was aggravated when he jumped again so the decision was made for me to retire him, safe and sound, rather than carry on and something to go bang.
As you can see, he really has been the most unbelievable horse, who has had a career which exceeded all of our expectations. He is one of the few Event horses to have amassed over 1000BE points.
He still remains the sharpest horse to ride in the yard, although it’s all with a smile on his face. From very early on I learnt that humouring him rather than taking him head on was the best policy and the results speak for themselves! He is now thoroughly enjoying strutting around the lanes and villages of East Sussex, convinced that any passer by is there just to see him!