BROKEN Arrow, the most outstanding traditional skewbald cob in the country, is still going strong at the grand age of 16 and has qualified for Olympia this year.
Produced and shown by Heather Linfield from her base near Rowlands Castle, this remarkable gelding has achieved yet another impressive season this year, scooping a remarkable array of top championships, both at County Shows and other events. The season has culminated in him qualifying for the Grand Final Championship for home produced senior ponies and horses at Olympia.
Heather bought Broken Arrow when he was just eight months old and he has gone on to reward her shrewd judgement by consistently achieving notable victories. These have been both under saddle and in hand since she started on the show circuit with him as a youngster.This year has been no exception and Heather has continued to combine a full showing season with her job of 33 years with SSE Energy company, where she is income offices manager.
She said: “A major highlight of this year was at the British Show Pony Association’s World Of Colour Championships at Houghton Hall in Bedfordshire, where he was awarded a Merit of Honour for being so successful over the years. I felt extremely honoured that this special presentation was made to him.
“At that show, after such a magnificent award, I retired him from coloured horse showing. He has won a phenomenal amount but still has a lot to offer and I will continue showing him next year, but only in veteran and senior showing classes, where I am sure he will continue to do well. The week before the Merit of Honour Award, I was thrilled when he was named as Champion Traditional Horse at the CHAPS Championships in the Performance Awards.
“We were very lucky to take part in the London Riding Horse Parade held on Rotten Row, when Arrow was Champion Coloured Horse and my nephew Pete Linfield, who is an apprentice farrier, received top marks for Arrow’s shoes.We have done a few other things too in the last 12 months, including barrel racing and agility courses, and some low level dressage, all of which have been great fun.”
Heather’s plan for this season had been to do a few senior showing classes and hopefully try and get to Olympia, where she has been simply a spectator for many years at what is the best show of the year. Her dreams came true when Arrow qualified for the Olympia finals in the In Hand section, where he will be one of 28 finalists. They will be travelling up the previous day, ready for his class in the main arena on Friday December 19 at 10am.
She said: “Even the drive through London will be exciting, though a little daunting. If my father Peter, who died this year at the age of 84, was still alive, he would be over the moon. It really is a dream success and he would have been very proud of Arrow. I am lucky that I have a good family and friends that help, in particular Jackie Brown, who spends her life scrubbing Arrow clean, and my mother Ginnette, who sorts out all the washing when we come back from these shows.”
Over the years Arrow has acquired quite a fan club among spectators and competitors alike and Heather said: ” He truly is a horse of a lifetime.”
Outside showing Heather finds time to help run Manhood Riding Club, which has had some extremely successful shows, and net year she hopes to do a lot more judging. At the moment she is on the panel of the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association and the Donkey Breeding Society and next year she hopes to qualify for the CHAPS and BSPA panels.