Monday, 28 May 2012

Happy anniversaries, Dexter!

This time last year saw the arrival  - or more accurately the return - of Dexter. In fact its not just a first  anniversary for him but also a fourth anniversary.
He is a TB eventer who first graced the yard as a rehab horse in 2008 and June 2008 - almost exactly 4 years ago - saw him leaving Rockley to go back to Tavistock.
These photos were taken then, shortly before he went home, when Kelly jumped him for the first time after his rehab (we didn't tell her Mum til later!).  Not bad, we thought, for a horse who'd had a DDFT injury and had been given only a 5% chance by his vets of returning to ridden work.
In fact, Dexter's vet was fantastically supportive and so interested in his recovery that he set up the meeting with Prof. Peter Clegg which inaugurated Project Dexter - the research project which now maps every rehab horse who comes here.
Dexter and Kelly spent the next 3 years competing in showjumping, dressage and XC until Kelly's new job with BA meant she had to go flying round the world and leave Dexter in Devon. 
So last May bank holiday Dexter came back to Rockley as a permanent member of the team - and that of course meant that he became a hunter. This photo was taken on his first day and he discovered pretty quickly that he absolutely loved it!
Dex only hunted lightly through the winter because the weather was atrocious and the ground bottomless - both of which he hates - but he nevertheless completed about 20 days (I think!), including the Christmas Eve meet and the last day of the season, when he was on terrific form.
Dex has also demonstrated his puzzling hooves on the blog - the extraordinary shape isn't due to him being a rehab horse but a compensation for a shoulder injury which happened when he was jumping XC 18 months ago; as you can see it doesn't hold him back - quite the reverse.
Since hunting finished he has been working hard taking out rehab horses, as well as catching up with Kelly - he is a horse who needs to work regularly in order to maintain the strength of his caudal hoof and that means lots of roadwork, which is critical for him.
Most recently, as an eventing schoolmaster who has been there, done that and got the t-shirt Dex has become Andy's first choice for jumping XC. So far they have gone clear round the Treborough mini course and popped our jumps at home but with both Kelly and Andy queueing up to take him XC I think he will have a busy summer - I am sure there will be more photos of Dexter soon!

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