With the Mitsubishi Motors Cup fast approaching, Eventing Worldwide will be following Lauren Collard and Orions Brite Spark as they make their final preparations.

I’m Lauren and my horse Orions Brite Spark and I are off to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup in just under 8 weeks time!

Orions Brite Spark, or Ryan to his friends, is a rather awesome, small, spotty event horse who absolutely loves his job. He’s 19 this year but still gallops around the cross country with as much enthusiasm and joy as he did when he started eventing as a seven-year-old. He’s recently found a new lease of life playing for hours with the much younger boys in the field. He currently does not have a tail flap on any of his outdoor rugs and often comes in with his neck cover undone blowing in the breeze.

Ryan was bred by my trainer Jo Clarke and her sister Jill Clarke at Tunley Equestrian Centre where he still lives now with rather a lot of his half siblings on both his dam & sires sides. It’s quite a family affair at Tunley! Not long after Ryan was born, I was told he’d be my next horse so four years later, at age 12, I went from my 12.1 pony to a just backed 4-year-old who hadn’t even cantered yet. Luckily Ryan has always been a sweet, kind natured horse who will always try to please. My six-year-old god daughter enjoys trotting around off the lead rein on him and he looks after her very well.

This year will be our sixth year at Badminton having won our regional final at Pontispool back in September. Ryan tolerates dressage and pulls out a sweet test the majority of the time. He’s not at all flashy never having displayed any form of medium trot in his life (including in the field) but he’s very obedient and accurate consistently which does us well. Neither of us particularly enjoy show jumping but unfortunately it’s a necessary evil. Although Ryan’s fairly consistent in the show jumping, he does get scared of fillers and oxers so there is always the possibility he could stop. However, at our regional final he managed a clear round, may be not the most confident but clear none the less. Fortunately Ryan’s rewarded by getting to go cross-country which he lives for. I’m sure he looks likes he’s smiling as he’s galloping around the course with his ears pricked. Clear cross-country meant we moved into first place and actually won our regional final. Ryan’s such a superstar and really is a once in a life time horse.

So far this year we’ve not done much training as Jo my trainer had a baby boy last week! The odd show jump and cross-country schooling and a winter ODE hopefully has us prepped for our first event of the year on Sunday at Tweseldown. Ryan always benefits from a jumping break over winter so we try not to do too much too early anyway. I’ll force myself to go to Summerhouse for BS in April in order to prepare us for the bigger show jumping at Badminton.


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