Benny Stardust and Aurelien Walas at Eventing In The Park
“I imagine you get plenty of messages from riders telling you how wonderful their horse is - I just want to share with you my story, or more to the point, the story of my wonderful horse Benny Stardust and his journey to Eventing in the Park” Vicki Nann wrote to us after the recent Eventing in the Park in Perth
There were plenty of happy people at this event, including two riders taking home cars, but none were happier than Vicki who was just delighted to watch the horse she normally rides, Benny Stardust, compete with the French rider Aurelien Walas
Benny Stardust has not always had the easiest of times during his life, starting with an accident as a foal which has left him covered in scars but “he is just a trooper with talent to boot. Everyone who has come across him loves him to bits” says Vicki
Bought from a racing clearance sale by owners Norm Dennis and Chick Webb Ware as a Valentines present for Norm, Benny was originally purchased as a hunting horse. However Norm soon recognised his potential and suggested they send him to an event rider but, as it turned out, it was a dressage rider, Liz Wakely Dawes who bought him through the lower levels of eventing, winning a number of Pre Novice events. When he was ready to move into One Star competition, she handed the reins to Nat Hibbert and Nat competed him for a short time until Benny had to be retired in 2014 after undergoing two throat operations.
The tie back procedure left him with a severe consistent cough so Norm and Chick decided to let him live his life out on their beautiful farm in Marybrook, Western Australia. Vicki takes up the story ...
“I came along at the end of 2015 looking for an adult rider horse that I could do some low level eventing and have a bit of fun on. My friend suggested I ask Normand Chick to see if I could use Benny and see how I got on with his cough. Initially he coughed his way around the arena and I almost gave up the idea but as he is such a lovely boy that I decided to persevere. Slowly his coughing improved, he started to gain condition and I entered him in a 65cm event. He was brilliant - his breathing was okay and we decided to push on. He has come up through the grades this year, teaching this old girl so much and we competed in our first Preliminary class at the end of this year.
Hayley Hickson advertised on the WA eventing site that she was looking for a horse for a French rider over for EITP and I suggested Benny but, as he hadn't competed at that level for a while, was a little nervous how he would handle the jump in grade. Aurelien Walas trialled him, loved him and decided to go ahead. So one week out from EITP, Benny was accepted and it was all systems go.
Aurelian and Benny had a marvellous round; they were one of the few riders to attempt the brush fences on a direct line. Unfortunately it didn't pay off and they had a run out but jumped the rest of the round clear and in good time. They need up finishing 12th of 60 riders!
I’m so sorry for the long story but I am just so proud of this horse who was very nearly euthanised. He is a true champion and I’m so, so thrilled for him and his owners”
It is uplifting to hear of stories where owners and riders are dedicated to providing the best possible care for their horses and in return this horse made three people (four including Aurelien!) very happy.
Thanks to Vicki, Norm, Chick and Benny for sharing their story!