’m Dougie Douglas, the horse with the best name in all of international show jumping. Or maybe I’m the horse with the best name in all of international horse sport, period. Not to brag or anything, but have you seen my liver chestnut coat? It’s so glossy, I bet the astronauts manning the International Space Station can see their reflections in my dapples. My eyes are a deep, velvety, chocolate brown and hold the answers to all of life’s mysteries. And, with a name like mine, I could have a successful career in the music industry if I ever choose to. We shall see.
Back to me. I’m a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding raised by leprechauns and rainbows, and although I ride for the Stars and Stripes these days, I still get to return to the European countryside every summer with my partner-in-crime, Katie Dinan. In fact, you caught me just in time: we’re getting ready to hop the pond and head to Switzerland for the warmer months so Mom can train with her coach, Beat Mändli.
Showing off my best side. Photo by Kate Kosnoff for NoelleFloyd.com.
I’ve been an ex-pat living in the States since 2015 when my Mom bought me at the Goresbridge Supreme Sale (so fancy, I know). I’m an Irish boy through and through, which is probably why I enjoy a good romp outside — lots of time in my paddock, hand-grazing, and regular trail rides keep me grounded. Spending some time munching on grass is often how I kick off my mornings as I am turned out after I grab a quick breakfast. What a delightful way to start the day! After that, Mom usually rides me on the flat, and, if she has time, we hit the trails.
“He loves being outside and I’ll take him out for up to an hour, hour-and-a-half, and sometimes even trot and canter along the road,” Mom says. “I think that’s definitely one of his favorite things to do.” (Oh, it is!)
After our ride, the rest of the day is mine to enjoy. Sometimes I go on the treadmill and sometimes I go back outside, but my people know that I enjoy a change of scenery and love to get out of my stall. My people also know that even though I’m very confident and self-assured, I don’t open up to just anyone.
Sharing a moment with one of my favorite humans. Photo by Sportfot.
“He really likes the people that he knows and that take care of him, but he’s not a horse that’s warm and fuzzy with people he doesn’t know,” Mom shares. “But when he does know you, what’s really nice is that he’s like a puppy to be around. You really feel like he knows you, and he’s definitely different around different people.”
Around other horses, I’m kind of the same way: friendly, but I don’t disclose all of my secrets — I prefer to be a man of mystery. Other tiny animals, however, are a different story. “He really loves dogs,” Mom says of my favorite furry friends. “I have a Chihuahua who is about six pounds and he is so gentle when he sees her. It’s really cute. He’s not that big, but he’s definitely well-built, but he’s just so gentle that you feel really safe with him around any animal or child.”
Speaking of being safe, I’m proud to say that I’m Mom’s steady Eddie. “He never looks at anything, spooks at anything,” she says. “He’s just smart, reliable, [and] doesn’t ever do anything stupid. He’s just always there for you. Every day I walk in the barn I’m like, ‘Thank God for you.’ He just never lets me down.”
I’ve been all over the world and shown at more venues than I can count on one hoof, and even though I get super excited the first day at a new place, I never purposefully misbehave.
“He sometimes will get really excited the first day at the show, which is usually a good sign because he’s in a good mood and he’ll look around,” Mom says about my antics. “It gives you a lot of confidence as a rider because you can bring him anywhere — indoors, outdoors, sand, grass, thunderstorms. No matter what’s happening, if you’re riding him, you know you’re going to be okay.”
I'm quite trustworthy if I say so myself. Photo by Kate Kosnoff for NoelleFloyd.com.
Though I am a teenager, my energy level has yet to wane — sometimes I even forget that Mom isn’t a human lunge line! “He’s really energetic and he’s very fit and he could probably gallop for four hours,” Mom laughs. “Sometimes when I ride him I’m like, ‘I’m getting tired but you’re never going to get tired!’ He has a lot of natural stamina and you really feel that Irish Sport Horse in him, more than any other horse I’ve ridden like that.”
What can I say? I just really love my job, especially competing under the lights in front of a big crowd, and I’m looking forward to summer show season oh-so-much.
Well, I should get back to packing — the Swiss mountains are calling and I must answer! Tata for now and catch you on the flip, ‘merica.
Hold on, Mom! Photo by Sportfot.
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Feature photo by Kate Kosnoff for NoelleFloyd.com.