Artemis goes bare

Horse & Hound - - Eventing - By EL­LIE HUGHES

Sapey (2), Here­ford­shire

AF­TER years of in­ter­mit­tent lame­ness, Erica Mur­phy never imag­ined that her BE80(T) win­ner, Wel­ton Artemis, would ever event again, but last year, at the age of 16, the mare re­turned to com­pe­ti­tion af­ter nine years on the side­lines.

The key? Go­ing bare­foot. “I bought her as a five-yearold and started com­pet­ing her the fol­low­ing year, but didn’t get very far be­cause ev­ery time she set foot on a cross-coun­try course, she ended up crip­pled,” ex­plained Erica.

Af­ter nu­mer­ous ex­am­i­na­tions, vets nar­rowed the prob­lem down to Artemis’ feet and, in a last-ditch at­tempt to keep her sound and in con­sul­ta­tion with a re­me­dial far­rier, Erica took off her shoes.

“I started do­ing low-level dres­sage and grad­u­ally built up to jump­ing again; she felt like a new horse,” re­vealed Erica.

“I only have a small win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to com­pete each year — the ground mustn’t be too hard or soft — but when she’s right she’s so much fun.”

Artemis wears Cavallo hoof boots for road work, but does ev­ery­thing else bare­foot.

“I keep her off the wet, muddy ground; she has a re­ally deep bed and when she is trimmed my

far­rier only rasps a tiny amount of hoof at a time to keep ad­just­ments to a min­i­mum,” Erica con­tin­ued.

Six years ago novice win­ner Lynne Zi­jl­mans went to Ire­land to buy an ex­pe­ri­enced hunter. She came home with a “gi­nor­mous and very beau­ti­ful” four-yearold, Mr Black II, by the pro­lific showjump­ing stal­lion Vechta.

“He has a tem­per­a­ment to die for and can do ev­ery­thing; he events, hunts and I can too­tle about along­side my 10-year-old daugh­ter on him,” said Lynne, a for­mer mas­ter of the Cotswold Vale Farm­ers.

Ge­or­gia King dom­i­nated the BE100 un­der 18 sec­tion, win­ning with Mojo IV and fin­ish­ing third with Drop The Sub­ject.

The 15-year-old daugh­ter of Na­tional Hunt trainer Alan King started event­ing three years ago and is a mem­ber of the Ted­worth branch of the Pony Club.

“My mum [Rachel] evented a lit­tle bit, but I mainly got into it through the Pony Club,” ex­plained Ge­or­gia, who has had her win­ning ride for three-and-a-half years. “Mojo is a cross-coun­try ma­chine; he locks on to ev­ery­thing and is so for­ward-go­ing.”

The Lucy McCarthy-de­signed cross-coun­try cour­ses were well­re­ceived by riders at all lev­els.

“There were a few chal­leng­ing ques­tions in the novice,” said Lynne. “The quarry with a big drop down and a turn up over a skinny was a good ask, as was the hedge to a cor­ner.”

‘So much fun’: Wel­ton Artemis and Erica Mur­phy, BE80(T) win­ners

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