When the Moreton BE90 section H winner, Boby, suddenly started struggling to make the time across country last summer, alarm bells rang for his owner-rider, Sheila Williams.
“He never showed any external signs of breathing difficulties – no coughing or wheezing – but he wasn’t comfortable going at a fast pace, so I had him scoped to find out what was going on,” revealed Sheila of the 11-year-old part-Welsh cob gelding known as Harley, who was bought as a lockdown project two years ago but has since become a permanent fixture in her Bridgwater yard.
Harley was diagnosed with equine asthma, a condition that has to be carefully managed through the daily use of a nebuliser mask which dispenses liquid steroids.
“He has to wear the mask for 20 minutes every day, and then in the medicine withdrawal period in the lead-up to an event I substitute the steroids for a product called Audevard Balsamic Air [which is competition legal] and was recommended to me by Lissa Green, who uses it on one of her horses,” explained Sheila. “He’s incredibly tolerant of it all, which is testament to his amazing temperament.”
The pair headed BE90 section H, conquering the optimum time to finish on their dressage score of 28.
Sheila Williams, who works part-time as a cleaner to fund her hobby, has her sights set on qualifying for next year’s Badminton grassroots championship.
“I competed there five years ago with another horse and it would be a dream to go back again with Harley,” she added.
Read more from Moreton in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, dated 31 March.
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