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Meet Charlie - a cheeky chap chosen by chance

Hilary Westall shares her story of Charlie, a multitalented gelding who possibly has multiple personalities too...

Charlie is a 15.2hh Connemara and 13 years old. I never use his show name, Knocknamena Lad, as no-one can pronounce it!

I've owned Charlie for nearly five years. I found him down in Kent. I had gone there to view a couple of horses, including a grey called Charlie... but this turned out not to be him.

He was at the yard I had gone to view the other horses at. The Charlie I meant to see had already sold and gone. This was unbeknown to me, as the person I meant to meet at the yard didn't turn up.

It was all very confusing for a bit. A girl was coming to try the real Charlie at the same time as me. Once all this transpired, I made myself scarce for an hour or so. But I asked to try him out anyway, even though he was above my budget.

So I tried him, fell in love, battled it out with the other potential buyer and I got him!

Charlie has many nicknames, and they span quite a spectrum. The more PG ones include Nob, Tw*t, Darling, Gorgeous, Charles, Charlie Chops and Chaz.

He also has a few habits that make me laugh. He always digs a hole in his hay and throws it around with his nose. He likes to pick buckets up and swing them about. He does the same with his headcollar which is on a hook outside his stable, or my coat/hat/ gloves.

We love doing sponsored rides and combined training together. He's also fab in traffic, and is mostly a good boy! On the whole, he's quirky and fun. He can be amazing, he can also be a complete twit.

Something we've done a lot of (especially during lockdowns!) is online dressage. It has given me a regular schooling focus, which isn't my favourite thing!

I've seen a huge improvement in Charlie as a result. This isn't limited to dressage, but across all disciplines as a result of doing more flatwork.

I'm also lucky to have an outdoor school. Online dressage has been a great way of competing, without having to go anywhere. And the added bonus... without the need to get dressed up and plait!

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