Cadlanvalley VIP Stages an Emotional Victory

It was an emotional moment for Kim Wilson when her daughter Charlotte and section B pony Cadlanvalley VIP (Vinnie) won their 122cm restricted heritage working hunter pony class at the BSPS championships.  

“We fell in love with him because he is the true barbie pony, with his flashy golden locks,” explained Kim. “I saw him being ridden by Olivia Brightmore in a HOYS qualifier and I said to Charlotte ‘we are having that pony’!” 

Vinnie joined the Wilson family in 2021 and proceeded to qualify for HOYS later that year as a first ridden, “but as a section B he was a bit much for that class, so we moved him up to juniors,” explained Kim.

But disaster was courting them, and in May 2022, it hit. “It was the end of May and I had just dropped the kids off at my mum’s,” said Kim, who was due to attend a friend’s wedding. “When I got back, the horses were out in the field and staring at the stable yard which was bizarre. When I walked up to the yard, the concrete was just a mass of blood and I will never forget that minute trying to work out what had happened, until I saw Vinnie, blood pouring out his chest. It was the longest twenty minutes of my life waiting for the vet. When the vet came, she asked me why I was only wearing my leggings and vest? Every other piece of clothing I had stripped off me to stem the blood.”

When the vet inspected the hole in Vinnie’s chest, she found it to be almost “elbow deep” and explained he needed to be moved to the Dick Vet in Edinburgh or put to sleep. Unable to contemplate the grim alternative, Kim set off for Edinburgh. “How I got him on that wagon I have no idea, I think I literally carried him on as I was not accepting the alternative,” she said. “Dad accompanied me on the scariest journey of my life.”

Upon arrival, Kim and her father were told that the team would be in contact with a plan, most probably involving an operation.

A long night of staring at the phone ensued, until the team eventually called at 3am. Kim was informed her would be needing an operation to have any chance of survival. “They were professional but not optimistic. However, at 6am, I got the news he was out of surgery and they were pleased but Vinnie still a long way to go.”

Four weeks at the Dick Vet preceded four months box rest. Kim explained that “Charlotte found ways to entertain him from singing, reading stories, making him fruit kebabs and playing dunking for apples to stop him going mad with boredom.”

Meanwhile, the origins of the injury remain a mystery, although a “destroyed” section of fence may serve as a significant clue. Typically, Kim’s CCTV system doesn’t cover the area.

After the long period of box rest came rehab. “We slowly built him up over the winter with hacking and long reining and then swimming to build his muscles back up. It was a quiet and slow rehabilitation before we started pole work and cross poles, which was when we realised how much he loves jumping.”  

A career in workers beckoned. “He gets quite sharp and anxious in the show ring but in the workers ring he just loves life, with his ears forward and smiling. We thought we would take him to the BSPS winter champs for some experience and see how he deals with tough tracks. He cleared every track with just a pole in each class but amazing confirmation and show marks and was placed in every class including the RI qualifier.

Vinne and Charlotte’s last class of champs was the restricted heritage class and he flew round, keeping all the poles up, and winning a really strong class. He looks after Charlotte and always helps her out; they just need loads more tricks and lots more mileage.”

And next? “We have been through hell with this pony and as much as we adore him, it’s been difficult. Charlotte has done all the rehabilitation and jumping work herself and she really deserves some success. We would love to get him to RIHS and HOYS as a worker and really make it the fairytale ending.”

Photos by Equinational Photography

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