Life hasn’t been straightforward for seven-year-old cob Blue. He was bought as a surprise birthday present for Becky Clare by her boyfriend four years ago, and she immediately fell in love with the little one-eyed cob.

“He’d had an eye ulcer which lead to his retina detaching and he was just miserable. The vets took the eye away and he was so much better,” says Becky, who knew the gelding before owning him as he lived locally. “I went to try him, but my boyfriend said he didn’t think he was right for me.”

Her boyfriend’s disinterest had been a ploy to surprise Becky, however, and the next time she visited the livery yard, a surprise was waiting for her.

“I arrived at my livery yard on my birthday and Blue was brought out covered in ribbons, with a huge pink bow in his mane and a birthday sash around his neck!”

Blue was bought for Becky as a birthday present, and they’ve never looked back

‘It was the kind of injury if they somersault over a fence’

She turned the then three-year-old away for the winter, but come spring, something was wrong with the gelding. 

“He just didn’t feel quite right, so I had the vets out. They found he had a broken vertebrae in his neck,” says Becky, 37. “It was the kind of injury if they somersault over a fence, but as he’s never done cross-country we think it was probably an accident in the field.” 

Once Blue went through treatment and rehabilitation, Becky brought him back into work and started hacking him out again, until last year when disaster struck again and the gelding was  diagnosed with polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM). Becky made changes to his nutrition and management to keep him comfortable and in work. Hacking is an important part of his exercise plan to keep his weight down, as Becky confesses he is a good doer.

‘Our rides are never boring’

Despite the difficulties he’s faced, 13.1hh Blue has a zest for life – particularly when it comes to hacking, and can get a little exuberant. 

“Sometimes I’ll ask for trot but get a buck and gallop. I can usually sit it if I see it coming. He’s had me off when it’s come out of nowhere; he broke my nose once!” says Becky, who lives in Staffordshire. “It might sound strange, but I love that he’s like that. He’s been through a lot, so feeling like he wants to go and he loves life is great.”

Knowing that his bucks come from excitement rather than spookiness or fear helps Becky stay confident. 

“He’s the most unflappable pony I’ve ever sat on, even though he only has one eye,” she says. “He’s only little, so I know he’s never going to go that far. I’m happy he’s whizzy – our rides are never boring.” 

Hacking 1,000 miles

It’s not Becky’s first attempt at the #Hack1000Miles challenge, but she’s accepted that she’s unlikely to cross the finish line during this attempt.

“I’ve done it three years in a row. We completed it the first year, and got close last year but this year my other horse Red has been rehabbed so I haven’t been riding as much,” shares Becky, who juggles two part time jobs around owning horses. “It’s very addictive. Once you start you can’t not do it.”

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