Devoted duo Katie Stephen and former racehorse horse Basil claimed an extra-special first place at the recent Border Union Show.
The pair are riding high after battling back from a year off to gain first place in the the retraining of racehorses class at the Kelso showpiece event. And it was a victory which a thrilled Katie says reduced her to tears, because at one stage she feared they’d never compete together again.
Katie, who has previously scooped two other retraining of racehorses victories with Basil, told the Hawick News: “I wasn’t expecting anything at all. Just to have him there was amazing after he had been off for so long and could even have been put down, so when the judges said we’d won I was completely overwhelmed. I was very emotional.”
It was following an outing to a pre-novice British event at Burgham last year, where they were third, that Basil was diagnosed with a stifle injury – the stifle being the largest, most complex joint in the horse – which can end its career and even its life.
But after months of recuperation with William and Carol Douglas at Newhouses, and gentle hacking, the 12-year old grey has battled back to fitness.
And although the pair’s hopes of returning to British eventing remain uncertain, Katie’s mum Sandra says Basil has already ensured one dream has come true.
She added: “Katie’s win was all the more special as at one point we were told he might have to be put down.
“I can’t explain how Katie and myself felt on Saturday after they were pulled in first.
“It was extremely emotional. A true fairytale.”