A horse that was once destined for the meat market is set to enter the British Dressage My Quest National Championships at the end of the month.
Coda, a 16.2hh Polish warmblood, will enter the My Quest Intro C class with his two riders, Ruth Snowden and owner, Dave Brackpool and raise money for Alzheimer's Research UK in the process.
Both riders qualified for the My Quest Championship at a regional competition, with Ruth and Dave coming first and third on Coda respectively.
Life for Coda didn’t always look so promising. He originally started life in Poland and was bred to enter the food chain. When he was big enough, he was loaded onto a lorry and transported long distances across Europe, destined for the slaughterhouse.
Thankfully, Coda was rescued just in time by an owner of a riding school, before he eventually found a home with Dave in York.
Dave says: “Coda had a few owners before he came to me, and it was through a friend of the family, Emma, that I heard about him. I saw him in a photograph and a little while later, I was down in Kent with a lorry picking him up!
“Coda is the first horse I’ve owned and he got me into riding. The first year wasn’t the easiest – I spent much of it in hospital after a series of falls, but I didn’t give up. We started doing more work on the ground and it really helped improve the bond between us.
“Coda is very strong and very insecure. He tends to worry and panic and is a really challenging horse, but when you get it right and he knows he can trust you, he gives you everything.
“We now do dressage together and he loves to jump. We’ve tried show jumping and he loves cross country. We’d like to try and event next year.”
Dave met fellow rider Ruth through the York and District Riding Club. He joined as a member initially, but quickly became immersed in the club, first joining its committee and then becoming the chairman. Pretty impressive stuff when you consider Dave has only had Coda for three years.
“My role at the Riding Club shows the support there is out there for grassroot riders. Coda and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Both Dave and Ruth are riding to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is a charity very close to both riders’ hearts.
“Ruth and I had a chat and we decided to use the dressage competition as an opportunity to raise money for Alzheimer’s. We both have family members who have been affected by this disease and we wanted to do something to raise awareness and offer support.”
Coda will be riding in the My Quest Intro C on the 28th October. The My Quest National Championships runs from the 28 to 30 October.