From trailblazer to dressage star: Riding school horse with breathing difficulties transformed into a new life

A Hanoverian gelding that once struggled with difficult behavior has turned into a successful dressage horse. Fay Lai from Lymington spotted the raw Bengal in a riding school arena and decided she would take him despite his struggles.

Fay visited a local riding school to buy ponies in 2018. Having lost her beloved horse a few months before, her owner gave her the Bengal. He had breathing difficulties, was “difficult, older and had no training”, but was on sale for “a robbery”.

Unfortunately, the Bengals’ breathing difficulties required surgery and according to the vet, her tether was “the worst case she’s ever seen”. After the operation and a long recovery, Fay decided Bengal’s tough nature meant she had to ride him herself.

“I couldn’t have someone having an accident on my conscience,” she said.

It took months of small steps and hacking in the forest to earn Bengal’s trust and after six months Fay felt progress.

“The cathartic forest hacking seemed to calm Bengal’s behaviors and with a combination of that and training in the arena I started to feel like he was really trying and showing some talent as a horse. dressage,” she said.

Fay runs a boarding yard, a riding school and has trained horses to PSG level, as well as successfully eventing at novice level. Bengal and Fay have competed in UK Intermediate Dressage II competitions for the past 12 months.

Their highest score, 75%, was achieved this month, and together they took first place in the Hickstead Inter II Premier League.

“I never gave up on him and thought his bad behavior was down to his past, it’s been a lot of hard work to get to where we are today and I’m so, so proud of him,” added Fay.

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Clyde P. Johnson