The Petplan Equine Area Festivals are officially the most popular dressage competition in the UK with more people participating and aiming to than any other dressage series. Petplan Equine is very proud to sponsor the series and they often hear stories of people’s own personal experiences and how their focus on competing has helped them overcome all sorts of issues. Here we have just such an inspiring story from Sadie Watts and her amazing cob Paintball Picture Perfect, know at home as Prudence.

Sadie grew up on a council estate constantly begging for rides on the local ponies and didn’t get her own horse until she was in her 40s. Sadly, Sadie lost her special horse to laminitis and wasn’t sure if she would have another opportunity to build such a close bond with another horse ever again.

Enter Prudence about 18 months ago, from a friend who had owned her since she was three years old. They agreed that if she was to ever want to sell her the friend would buy her back. It was crucial that Prudence was the right horse because Sadie has arthritis and cartilage problems in her hands and she is currently waiting for a joint replacement operation. BD allows her to ride with laddered reins which means she has more control and she told us, “My scores have been on the rise ever since!”

“Prudence has given me so much confidence since losing my previous horse and she made me smile again. I can never thank her enough for that. My horses are my children despite having my own children as well as grandchildren!” she continued.

“Prudence is a 15hh cob and will be 15 this year. I have owned her for around 18 months. She thinks she’s a warmblood and is such a happy horse, it always gets commented on. She has a real presence; in her previous life she jumped and did showing at HOYS”.

Prudence has competed regularly with Sadie over the last year and a half and she qualified for the Petplan Equine Area Festivals Winter Championship at Hartpury at the second attempt. “To me Hartpury was like the Olympics and I cried my eyes out after my test! I didn’t sleep at all the two weeks before. Everyone was so lovely from arrival to finish; the warm-ups were perfect and the arena walks. It all ran so smoothly with a great friendly atmosphere.”

Sadie certainly put the work in despite her hand problems including turning them purple for three days after shampooing Prudence to within an inch of her life!

“It was all so worthwhile though,” added Sadie. “She is a very special horse and I’m so lucky to have her. I’ll have to tell my friend there’s no chance of me ever wanting to sell her!”

Pretty inspirational, aren’t they? If you want to find out more about the Petplan Equine Area Festivals and feel like having a go, visit the Petplan Equine website for all the information you need.

For more information on Petplan Equine and the Area Festivals, visit

Petplan Equine is a trading name of Pet Plan Limited and Allianz Insurance plc.

Lead image by Kevin Sparrow

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue