It is always a difficult decision to make changes to a successful team, when do you retire one of your key horses and how do you then introduce a new member? As Roger Campbell, explains to Amy Mundell it isn’t an exact science.
At the top of equestrian sport over recent years we have seen the retirement of some of the worlds best equines; Big Star (showjumping), Valegro (dressage), and this year one of the top horses in Carriage Driving, Boyd Exell’s indoor team wheeler, Demi.
I recently caught up with Roger Campbell, the 2019 FEI number one Pony Four-in-Hand driver, who gave an insight into his thoughts around retirement and how he goes about introducing a new member to the team. Exclusively he also gives us a clue of his plans for 2020.
Roger’s overriding feeling is “age is just a number,” just like us humans our decision about retirement comes around when our bodies don’t make it quite so easy for us, or when we are no longer sound! It is important to understand there is no set age to retire a horse or pony, you need to look at its abilities.
At his team’s base in Minden, Germany, Roger is setting out to form a new team. This new team comprises experienced ponies who have been successful Internationally in pony pairs, driven by Germany’s Christof Weihe. Roger’s current challenge is integrating these ponies to form a well balanced, competitive four-in-hand team. At time of going to press, Roger was preparing the team for for Royal Windsor Horse Show (May 2020) this sadly has been cancelled at a result of the COVID-19 virus.
You can read the full interview in the April issue of Carriage Driving