Retired event horses enjoy a life just as varied as when they competed, says ex-Head Girl Mouse Berry.
Since retiring in 2018, top five- star horse Happy Times has lived on the outskirts of Gillingham with the Berry family. Frances ‘Mouse’ Berry, who cared for him during his eventing career, and groomed for him at the London 2012 Olympics, shared with us how the now-20-year-old Oldenberg gelding is adapting to retirement. “He now enjoys a varied life, including being introduced to hacking quietly, rather than with a view to fitness. By taking him out with no pressure, I am introducing Happy to the idea that his role has changed. He makes the 10 minutes trip back to Sam Griffith’ s yard at Symphony Farm most weeks where he’s schooled to keep him supple and to ensure his mind is settled.”
Having always had a life of routine, Mouse says it’s important to keep everything as similar as possible for him.
“He no longer jumps as there is no need to. He always jumped with so much velocity and enthusiasm that it would be easy for him to pick up an injury.
He loves his time in the field with his pony companions, Bluebell (Happy’s ‘wife’), Enya and Donk.” Since his retirement, Happy has successfully shown in veteran classes ridden by Sarah Gwilliam, coming second at Royal Windsor and winning the Gillingham and Shaftesbury and Frome Cheese shows this summer.
He’s a big show-off
“He still loves a crowd and enjoys showing off in the ring. His signature move is a flying change; asked for or not!
This winter he will do some dressage with Hayley Lippiatt, and hopefully return to the show ring next summer. He’s certainly not thinking of putting his hooves up yet! Keeping Happy fit and well is very rewarding and his long term soundness is a tribute to Sam’s management.
He’s fed on Saracen Horse Feeds, he has regular physiotherapy and acupuncture and is still cared for buy the same team of vets and farrier as he was when competing.”
In 2016 Happy was inducted into the Eventing Hall of Fame. He loved cross-country and had total confidence in Sam – and vice versa. Together they were known for making the most enormous and technical courses around the world look easy. “He’s retired, but he is still very much the superstar with all that know and love him.”
The Happy facts:
- Happy Times.
- Born in 1999.
- Sire – Heraldik
- Owned by Dinah Posford, Juliet Donald and Sam Griffiths.
- Ridden by Sam Griffiths.
- 1,711 British Eventing Points. Completed:
- 27 3* (now 4*)
- 13 4*(now 5*)
- 3rd at Badminton, and twice 3rd at Burghley.
- Represented Australia at the 2012 London Olympic Games
- Numerous international wins and placings.
Happy Times with Mouse Berry, who has cared for him during his eventing career, groomed for him at the London 2012 Olympics, and now looks after him in his retirement. image © Rose Lewis,
by Mouse Berry