The Best Christmas Present Ever

 I bought  thoroughbred ex racehorse from the Netherlands back in the nineties. I have told this story many times so apologies if I am boring you but it brings back very fond memories for me. Back in 1994 I was living in Amsterdam and had just met my partner who had started to learn to ride, not very successfully as, after a handful of lunge lessons he was put in a class of 13 on a horse who fly bucked – a little harsh for a beginner! Meanwhile I had joined a riding “club” . The club was near Hilversum and owned a few horses and the idea was that you rode as much as you wanted for a set monthly fee.
At this time I had lived in the Netherlands for 5 years and had settled there, buying my own flat and was speaking Dutch and really wanted to integrate. One day I arrived at the club and was told that they had a new horse that I would like because he was an English thoroughbred. I immediately felt irritated because i dont like being told what I will like and also because I was trying so hard not to be English. I decided that I would NOT like this horse but walked into his stable to have a look. He had his ears back and tail swishing and was grumpy. For some strange reason I immediately thought “I like this horse” and fell in love with him.  Later on the club went bankrupt, by this time my partner had also joined the club and learnt to ride on Charlie with me teaching him. When we heard that the horses were up for sale we bought Charlie and 6 months later, for Charlie’s sake and so that he could be turned out and have a more natural life, we all uprooted and moved back to the UK.
Apart from teaching my partner to ride, my ex racehorse Charlie has hacked, le Treced, show jumped, evented, showed and even turned his hoof to polo practice. He has baby sat my other horse, teaching him how to behave in many different situations and kept him calm and happy. In 2009 at the age of 22 Charlie reached the National Veteran dressage final. At 25 Charlie galloped along the beach and still managed to be pretty fast. If it werent for Charlie I would not be an applied equine podiatrist. A very versatile ex flat racehorse who has given us many many years of service, friendship and at 30 still carries me round the block and enjoys doing it.
What better Christmas present could there be than my English ex racehorse from the Netherlands purchased Christmas 1994?
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