We all know of iconic horse and rider relationships that hit the headlines like Nick Skelton and Big Star or Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam. But then on a different scale there is Bethany Puzio and her amazing dun Connemara, Gunner who are a very formidable combination, read on to find out more…
Taking a break from University visits, interviews and mock exams while Gunner is currently on his winter break, here Bethany tells us about her little superstar.
1) What makes Gunner so special?
Simple! Gunner is multi-talented, competitive, tough, honest and ultra-consistent – as well as being devilishly handsome….and a real diva! He has a huge heart & personality, in a relatively small body. He is my winner!
2) What are your major wins?
There have been many highlights in each of the five seasons we’ve been together – so here are just a few:
2012 (when I was 12yrs) – Winner of both the PC Junior Area Individual Dressage and Eventing titles, 1st in our first RIHS WHP qualifier, and finally Winner of National NSEA Dressage Championships at Addington.
2013 (13yo) – Winner of both the PC Novice Challenge Area Dressage & Eventing titles, and Winner of PC National Novice Eventing Championships in Cheshire.
2014 (14yo) – BCPS National Performance Pony Champion, at our first attempt – over 400 points ahead of our nearest challenger!
2015 (15yo) – P(UK) Colne WHP Supreme Champion; winner of our first BE 90 horse trial (Bricky BE) in our first season of BE.
2016 (16yo) – Winner of the ‘Winner of Winners WHP Championship’ at the BSPS Summer Championships, jumping one of only two clear rounds.
In addition to these, he’s won the BSPS Area 11 WHP points championship every year, plus he’s been Area 11 Supreme Points Champion twice, plus he’s won the BCPS WHP points Championship for the last three years. Awesome!
3) Why do you think you have such a good relationship with him?
I just know him so well, including all his little quirks – such as his little squeal in anticipation of his gallop in his show, and his sulkiness if he’s not in front during a lap of honour (which isn’t often). He’s part of the family and my best friend. We have similar personalities – we’re both divas with attitude, but also very driven to try to the best of our abilities. We are a team – and we trust each other implicitly.
4) What are your plans for 2017 with him?
Unfortunately the first half of our season will be hampered by A level exams, grrr! But we will continue to aim for RIHS and HOYS qualification in our workers, and for Badminton Mitsubishi Motors qualification in our eventing. I expect Mummy will also ‘borrow’ him to take to shows when I’m tied up with revision – they were Reserve Champions at the SW Connemara Breed Show at Bicton last year!
5) What do you feed him on?
TopSpec of course! Always – nothing else. He has the Senior Balancer, with a mixture of TopChop Alfalfa and TopChop Sport, plus some Cool Condition Cubes if he’s really working hard. Nothing else – no additives, no supplements – no need!
No-one can believe he’s rising 19-years-old! We would do veteran classes with him, except we know he’d sulk because you’re not allowed to gallop.
6) If he were a human who would he be?
Ryan Reynolds – extremely handsome, and with a great sense of humour.
(‘Mummy’ here – I’m not sure who Ryan Reynolds is even! I’d say George Clooney – as he simply gets better with age).