The Best Christmas Present Ever

Ex racehorse as a Christmas present

I bought an ex racehorse from the Netherlands back in the nineties. I have told this story many times, so I offer my apologies if I am boring you. This experience brings back very fond memories for me. Back in 1994 I was living in Amsterdam and I had just met my partner who had started to learn to ride.  At first not very successfully as, after a handful of lunge lessons he was put in a class of 13 riders on a horse who fly bucked. Fly bucking means rearing up and bucking at the same time.  This was a little harsh for a beginner! Meanwhile, I had joined a riding “club” . The riding club was near to Hilversum and owned a few horses, and the idea was that you rode as much as you wanted for a set monthly fee.

 I had lived in the Netherlands for five years at this point and I had happily settled there. Having bought my own flat, I was also speaking Dutch quite well. I really wanted to integrate into the Dutch culture. 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, 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 at him. The horse had his ears back, his tail was swishing, all  signs that he was a grunpy horse who might kick or bite. For some strange reason my  immediate thought was “I like this horse”. I promptly fell in love with him.

Riding instructor skills

The riding club  later went bankrupt, before then my partner had also joined the club and I had taught him to ride upon Charlie. When we heard that the horses were up for sale, we bought Charlie. Six months later, for Charlie’s sake and so that he could be turned out in a paddock and have a more natural life, we all uprooted and moved back to the UK.

Charlie’s Equine curriculm vitae

My ex racehorse Charlie has taught my partner to ride, hacked, le Treced, show jumped, evented and showed. Charlie has even turned his hoof to polo practice. Charlie 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.  Charlie is a very versatile ex racehorse who has given us many many years of service and friendship. At 30 years of age this horse still carries me around the block and enjoys doing it.
What better Christmas present could there be than my English ex racehorse from the Netherlands, purchased at Christmas in 1994?
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