Meet one of my long-term residents! Normandy III. Norman the horse has a lovely story to tell about his life and his future.
Norman was born here in Skidby on the 5th May 1993 in a stable belonging to my friend Norman Porter. I had been sleeping on the settee for 5 nights with a camera in the stable monitoring the mare. On the evening of his birth I had just gone home to get fresh clothes and see my family when I got the call that he had been born…. typical that I missed it after all my effort and sleepless week! He was perfect and his mum Vicky was fine.
During his formative years, I showed him in hand at various County shows and habituated him to the show ring and show environments because he was to be a career competition horse.
When he was 5 years old he did his first Dressage competition at Bishop Burton collage…seen here with my small son (who is now 21 and 6ft 2 tall!) A lovely memory.
Norman and I evented at national level until I sold him to Lord Nelson for his son Alistair to carry on eventing him. I had had several crashing falls, as is the way with such a dangerous sport. However, my shoulder never really recovered from its dislocation and the broken collar bone had to be fixed with a metal plate. 2 years down the line I was still BE eventing and BSJA Show jumping Norman but was not doing the horse justice being significantly weaker down my right side. I had other home bred youngsters on the way up so selling him to such a fantastic home was not to be missed. Still, it was one of the hardest and most soul searching decisions I have ever had to make in my career with horses.
Several years later Lady Nelson rang me about Norman because he was intermittently lame and could not continue eventing anymore and would I like to take him back…. which I did unblinkingly! He came back to me at Skidby and I spent several months bringing him slowly back to soundness for a very different career. One of taking life easy.
I persuaded my friend Jackie to own him to help her after her old horse retired. Norman was still a very energetic ride with plenty of challenges for Jackie to overcome. He was a dream horse for her, highly schooled but with a sharp brain. They bonded in the most amazing way and Jackie could eventually perform her dream of being able to compete at dressage on an amazing horse. They had years of fun together, competing at local and Riding club venues
All these years later, Norman is still here, at the grand age of 24. Jackie has been the most wonderful owner a horse could ever wish for. He is fit and well but takes life at a much slower pace. He is still ridden out regularly and still has that sharp brain just to keep his rider from ever being complacent! His huge character and presence makes him such a special resident. How wonderful for me to be able to look after my home bred baby and know he will live out his life under our umbrella of care. Safe and much loved.
How wonderful, and rare, for a horse to return full circle back to his place of birth. This was Norman last week out in the field with his mates at the grand age of 24.