spectators seeing the Royal Show Champion 'Saintjuliots Bewitched'
in the ring this year would find it hard to believe she was the
same youngster bought some years ago in a severely neglected, sorrowful
impressive seven year old Bewitched, a pure bred Cleveland Bay mare,
who now stands at 17.2 hands high, is owned by Joanne Firth of Thornhill,
near Dewsbury and has been representing the York-based Cleveland
Bay Horse Society in ridden demonstrations at equine events around
it hasn't all been plain sailing for Joanne and Bewitched, who have
had a hard struggle to get to the top
first saw Bewitched as a yearling down in Cornwall, and immediately
fell in love with her, paid the deposit and waited for the papers
when they went to collect the horse six months later, Joanne was
in for a shock.
I was heartbroken, and hardly recognised her as the same yearling
we had seen six months earlier - she was in the corner of
a filthy stable with no drinking water to be seen, and appeared
to be just skin and bone," said Joanne.
eyes were dull and lifeless and she had rainscald on her neck
and back, as well as mudfever and a nasty cough.
really wasn't sure what to do as I didn't want to leave her,
but she was hardly the show horse I had dreamt about!"
Joanne decided to take the risk, and after a struggle to get
the weak and trembling horse loaded into a trailer, Bewitched
was transported to her new life in Yorkshire.
the horse was so thin and weak that the vet refused to vaccinate
her, and so over the next few weeks Joanne began a careful
and thorough regime of worming, feeding five times a day,
grooming and training, along with lots of TLC.
after months of dedicated hard work, Joanne decided it was time
for Bewitched to make her debut in the show ring, and was repaid
for all her efforts with a remarkable 3rd placing at the 1998 Royal
Show, and later scooped the national prize at Malvern.
then onwards, Bewitched was unstoppable, and as a three year old
took first place and champion at the Royal Show, the Great Yorkshire
Show, Ryedale, and Harewood, becoming overall in-hand champion.
successes continued after Bewitched was broken in to ride, and then
in 2002, she was put in foal to High Park Schoffield, son of the
famous Storthouse Temptation, who won the CBHS King George V Cup
four times in the 1980's.
this brought more sorrow for Joanne as Bewitched gave birth to a
colt foal which was sadly lost to colic when only one week old,
and help was sought from the National Foaling Bank for the grieving
this story has a happy ending, and after yet more show triumphs
this season, Joanne and Bewitched are looking forward to the future,
with training for showjumping, cross country and dressage proposed
for this winter, and plans for another foal being put in place for
Joanne: " I am thrilled with the success that Bewitched and
I have had together, and I hope it will encourage more people to
consider a Cleveland Bay when searching for their ideal horse."
more information contact the Cleveland Bay Horse Society on 01904
489731 or visit www.clevelandbay.com