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That Special Bond – with Terri Fitton: “The things Alien would do, it was amazing”

Sunday, 24 May 2020
That Special Bond

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "Despite not getting off to the greatest start, Alien ended up being my best friend!” Terri tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

We continue our popular series ‘That Special Bond’, this time around moving on to speak with the grooms. Terri Fitton has worked for some of the best riders in the world, and has been lucky to care for some real legends like Cornet Obolensky and Tripple X III. But which of all the horses she met along her way did she have the best connection with, which horse is she missing the most and which one was the most difficult to get to know? WoSJ finds out.

The Special One

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping “His nick-name was given him because of his big bulb eyes. He always wore an XL fly-hat," Terri tells about Marco Kutscher's Cornet's Cristallo aka Alien. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Alien! Or should I perhaps say Cornet’s Cristallo – his real name?” Terri laughs. “When Marco (Kutscher) got him as an 8-year-old, Alien was difficult and wild – a bit stupid really. The first show I had him with me was Basel in January 2012. I went to hand-walk him, and he was just flying through the air. I could not plait him – or do anything with him for that matter, he was just hysterical about everything. That first year he was all over the place, but in Vienna that autumn I think he made the switch in his head. We had to unload the horses outside the city hall and lead them down the main street with traffic everywhere. I remember thinking I would not even get him to the stables, but I did and after that he became like a pet. Once, in Shanghai I even took him with me to the groom’s restaurant!”

“He would roll anywhere,” Terri laughs. “Once, in Basel he rolled on the concrete sidewalk and ended up on the tennis court… In Bordeaux, he rolled in his box with all his tack on right before Marco came to get on… There was nothing normal about him!”

“He was a special character in the ring too and could be so, so spooky. I remember Marco fell off him in Stuttgart in the second qualifier for the Masters. It was a water tray with green grass and Alien just slatted him in the combination, then he ran back to the in-gate to me – needless to say Marco was not happy….” Terri tells.

“What he could do with his body was amazing though,” Terri continues. “He had so much scope, and could turn his body inside out! On the truck, he would be the last horse to go in – up on the side ramp, just turn and reverse in. He could turn on a coin.”

“Alien was nothing like his dad Cornet Obolensky – a completely different horse. Cornet was steady and secure, and Alien…” Terri laughs. “They were both really nice horses though, and Alien loved people. You would say ‘little kiss’ and he would put his top lip up, then ‘big kiss’ and he would lick your face. You could even brush him with the big stable brooms, he would just be standing there! The things Alien would do, it was amazing.”

“His nick-name was given him because of his big bulb eyes. He always wore an XL fly-hat, and someone once asked Marco why he had this massive thing on his head. Marco lifted it up and there were his eyes popping out of his head. He definitely had alien-eyes,” Terri laughs.

“Alien was so, so strange, but so sweet. Despite not getting off to the greatest start, Alien ended up being my best friend!”

Hardest to Get to Know

“That would also be Alien,” Terri says. “It took me a year to get to know him, and to make him calm down. It took a long time before he took a breath himself and relaxed – but in the end, we could do whatever with him!”

Missing the Most

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Seringat, that according to Terri "wanted to have a person" – and appreciated everything she did for him. "I loved him!” Terri tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I would say Seringat. He came to Edu (Alvarez Aznar) from Penelope Leprevost in the late summer of 2016. We took him to Barcelona, jumped him the smaller classes there – then he did Oslo and Helsinki and was amazing! After, he was sold to Geir Gulliksen but Cian O’Connor rode him a while first. In June 2018, Edu bought him back. He was delivered to us at the show in Treffen, and I remember arriving at 5 AM in the morning to find him there waiting – I cried so much!” Terri tells.

“Seringat was complicated and difficult, he would bite and kick but not in a mean way – he was just so sensitive in his skin. In the ring he was like a steam locomotive; you could not stop him, but still he was so insecure in himself. Seringat needed you, he wanted to have a person – and he appreciated everything you did for him. The more you put into him, the more he gave back – even when he could not. I loved him!” she smiles.

“I also miss Rokfeller, but for different reasons. Unlike Seringat, Rokfeller was the simplest horse to handle – he was cold, cool, reserved and quiet. He did not really need a person, although he liked having me there. I really miss seeing him in the ring, his heart was incredible! He’s just a big pony really, and the job he does is phenomenal. To be there and see what he could achieve was amazing,” Terri closes off.

 

No reproduction without permission, copyright © World of Showjumping

 



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