AFTER a 20-year-break from horses, Julie Cooper of Slinfold decided she wanted to become involved in the equestrian world again. She had originally ridden and also run the Rowfold annual horse show for many years- and the search for a suitable horse began.
She explained: “I decided I wanted a hunter, with the aim of competing and had seen quite a few that simply didn’t make the grade. I wanted a horse that I could produce to win a Championship and wanted to buy something capable of getting to that level. Everybody thought I was barking mad!”
Julie persisted with the search for the right horse. She had seen so many horses that did not match their photographs that when she found Golden Inca Cross in Ireland, still only seven, she asked for a video clip of him in action.
“I knew after watching it that he was the one for me and since I couldn’t go to Ireland to buy him, my husband, Royston, who knows nothing about horses, went over and bought him for me from Judy Pearson.
“Judy has an excellent track record. She also owned Loughkeen Dancing Lord, who is a prolific hunter winner.
“Inca arrived here a few days later and I soon realised that he was so good that he needed an experienced show rider, and not me in the saddle.
“I entered him in the Alltech Hunters Class at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, with Karl Standing riding, which he won, and has qualified for Horse Of The Year Show with that victory,” explained Julie.
Karl is renowned for his quiet approach and success with horses, and also competes at dressage, and is Inca’s regular partner in competitions. He said of Inca:” He is a big horse and stands at 17.2hh but is incredibly light on his feet and has a lot of talent and potential.”
Julie’s father, Charles Frankham, now 84, had been involved with horses before her, and is a keen member of the team which travels with Inca whenever he competes. Recently they went to a very wet Stafford and got through to the final of the hunter class, which was an evening performance.
Julie said: ” Inca performed superbly with not a foot wrong. In the end it was down to the judge’s choice and we came seventh out of 11 in a very strong class. We beat prolific winner Katie Jerram, who was eighth, so we were extremely pleased with both of Inca’s performances.
More success followed at Buckinghamshire County Show on Thursday, rewarding an early start at 4.30am. Golden Inca finished third in the Hunter Class and won the Blue Chip Flat Ridden Sport Horse class, qualifying for the 2016 Championship at Alexanders Horsebox National Supreme Hunter Championship at Stafford.
Julie said: “I’m so pleased with the whole team yesterday and couldn’t do it without Tina Pendel, who gets everything ready, washed and packed in the days before the show, helps to get the horse ready and accompanied us to most events.
“I’m sure Karl’s dressage training also played a valuable part in what was a great day. Next stop Edenbridge and Oxted.”
She added: “Also, a key member of the team is James Robertson, Karl’s partner, who comes to main shows as a groom and also drives the lorry. He turns Inca out to perfection and always seems to have a calming effect on horse, rider and owner.
“He is always best-turned-out groom in the ring and is an accomplished rider himself, having qualified for and ridden at HOYS. He runs a hunter livery and gives up a lot of free time to help us on our crusade.”
Most shows are a real family outing, with Julie’s father, husband, son, two daughters and granddaughter going along.
But Julie added: When we go to HOYS I think between Karl and I we have about 60 friends and family coming along to support team Inca!”