PLUS: HEATH RYAN’S OLYMPIC SHORTLISTS; WELSH COBS KICKING GOALS; TRAINING THE SIMPLE CHANGE, THE SHORT SIDE & WATER JUMPS; RIDING WITH THE BECKHAMS, ‘OF HORSES & MEN’ WITH SUZY JARRATT, RIDE EGYPT & MANAGING ENDOMETRITIS.
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A Few Words
FROM THE PUBLISHER
PRESSURE BUILDS IN OLYMPIC STAKES
BY HEATH RYAN
JAMIE WINNING-KERMOND'S ‘STELLA’ YEAR
BY ADELE SEVERS
HIGH NOON AT THE NATIONALS
BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
THE GOLDEN GLOW OF A GROOM
BY KATRINA LODGE
TAKING THE PLUNGE
BY ADELE SEVERS
OF HORSES & MEN: ONLY IN ICELAND
BY SUZY JARRATT
PERFECTING THE SHORT SIDE
BY DR KERRY MACK
WELSH COBS PUNCH ABOVE THEIR WEIGHT
BY ADELE SEVERS
THE JOURNEY TO RIDE EGYPT
INTERVIEW BY PHOEBE OLIVER / WRITTEN BY EQ LIFE
SIMPLE CHANGE IS NEVER SIMPLE
BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
BY DR MAXINE BRAIN
RIDE IT LIKE THE BECKHAMS
BY BERNARD BALE
David Beckham has always admired police horses. Image by PA Images - Alamy Stock Photo.
Nobody could ever accuse international star David Beckham of lacking passion. He has a zest for life, a passion for football, a passion for his family, a passion for his work, a love of animals and, best of all, a passion for horses.
Former Manchester United star David Beckham has developed a love of horses over the years. Image supplied.
“It’s not just me,” says David. “The whole family love horses and being on horseback. I don’t think it is something I ever really thought about when I was much younger. I grew up in East London and all I thought about was playing football. I spent much of my time kicking a ball or watching other people kick a ball.
“That doesn’t mean that I was not interested in anything else. I liked cats and dogs and, of course, horses. Mostly I saw police horses and the like, apart from the occasional seaside donkey. I always admired police horses, they always looked so big and powerful and in control of everything. I could not imagine riding one, but I always liked to be close to them.”
The David Beckham story is very well known, of course; he is an international football star who has gone way beyond kicking a ball for a living. He has a legion of fans all over the world and many of those have started to follow him and his wife Victoria and their children after he had hung up his boots. “There’s a lot of kind people around who have taken an interest in me since the early days of Manchester United and I can never get used to the letters and cards that we get all the time. I am still essentially the same kid who used to kick a ball about all the time and talk to the neighbours’ dogs even before I was a teenager.”
By the time he was five David was indeed kicking a ball in the local park. He would cheerfully spend hours doing exactly that, virtually teaching himself the skills that would later make him famous. Apart from his family who were Manchester United fans, few took him and his football abilities seriously. “If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over 100 times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy,” he says. “I know I am fortunate to have realised those dreams and I am grateful to all those people who gave me a chance.”
David’s career is a legend all of its own and he is far from finished with football yet as he has been very involved in creating Club Internacional de Futbol Miami – perhaps best known as Inter Miami CF.
“The whole family love horses and being on horseback.”
David as Prince Phillip from Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty', photographed for Disney Parks' Year of a Million Dreams celebration in 2006. Image by Annie Leibovitz for Disney Parks.
“More than football my family mean everything to me, and it was probably having shared family experiences that led to me getting in to riding. My family mean everything to me. I was an only son with two sisters when I was growing up and I have always tried to remember how I felt about things and how my own family must feel about things now. We always try to do as much together as possible, and when the family was much younger, we did take all our holidays together and went to different parts of the world.
“One day we decided to try a family trek on horseback. Of course, they were very experienced horses and not very big, but I think it is fair to say we were all a bit nervous. I remember mine started to get a bit excited and I wasn’t sure what to do so I just clung on. It’s a bit like riding a fairground ride. While you are on it you are not sure if you are enjoying it but once you have dismounted you realise how much you have enjoyed it and want to do it again. That was me.”
David and Victoria have four children – Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper – and they also have several homes, one being in the Cotswolds, one of their favourite areas for riding and dog walking. But it could be said that they have ridden all over the world. “We started making sure that wherever we went there was a facility for riding. So we have ridden in Australia, different parts of Europe and, of course in LA,” David explains.
David Beckham on horseback. Image supplied.
“We all just love it…”
Victoria picks up the story and adds, “I think of all of us it has been Harper who has been the most passionate about horses and riding. She just took to it straight away and loved all the horses and ponies so much that we bought her a pony of her own. We made sure that she knew that she had to look after her pony fully and properly and that it was not just a toy to play with when she felt like it. She didn’t really need telling, she loves everything about it and is very caring.
“Brooklyn also took to riding especially well and is quite a good horseman. It is lovely to share this as a family and we have happy memories of riding round a ranch near LA and also at a place near Sydney called Glenworth Valley where you could do just about any kind of outdoor pursuit including riding.”
Victoria has been known to organise trekking events with her friends too. “We all just love it,” she says, “Mad on horses and loving to ride! Is there anything better?”
It is back at the Cotswolds, however, that David really relishes the English landscape. “One of my favourite times is when we all go riding or for a walk with the dogs,” says David. “There is nothing quite like the English countryside and the horses love it as much as we do. I grew up in London and I still love London but being out in the country is totally brilliant, especially on horseback.” EQ