Nicola Wilson’s four-star ride Beltane Queen has returned to competition, following a two-year break to have a foal.

‘Fabulous dressage’

Nicola took the striking 14-year-old mare to Burnham International where they won the open novice, finishing on a “fabulous” dressage score of 22.

“It feels as if she has forgotten nothing,” said Nicola afterwards. “It was like putting on a pair of comfy shoes competing her again!”

Owners Val and Ann Robson decided to put ‘Maisie’ in foal to Chilli Morning – William Fox-Pitt’s former top ride – after she picked up an injury in the run up to Burghley in 2016.

‘Bit of a shock’

“She came back to me and it was at that point, having discussed it with the vets, we decided to try and put her in foal,” said Val, who bred Maisie. “If we had been unable to get her in foal she would have gone back to Nicola in 2016. But as luck would have it, under the watchful eye of our vet James Crabtree, she held at the first attempt.”

They were also lucky to have Chilli Morning as the sire, as he was not used for stallion duties that year due to the Rio Olympics. However, his owners Chris and Lisa Stone allowed the Robsons to use him because of Maisie’s impressive eventing record.

Charlie was born on 23 April last year and he is now at home with Val and the rest of his family, which includes Maisie’s mum, her half brother and half sister.

“He is a skewbald, which was a bit of a shock but that goes back to his gran (Maisie’s mum) who is also a skewbald,” said Val.

‘Horse of a lifetime’

With such a strong pedigree Charlie is definitely one to look out for in the future.

“Hopefully he will go into eventing like his mum and dad – that would be an absolute dream for me,” said Val. “But as we all know there are no guarantees and we will just have to wait and see what the future holds.”

Following Nicola and Maisie’s win at Burnham, the pair completed their first international at Belton Park, where they were 10th after having one pole in the showjumping.

“You can see she is so happy to be back in work and just loves competing, especially the cross-country,” said Val. “Hopefully she will go on to compete at top level again, but only time will tell.

“We all have our fingers crossed, but whatever happens she certainly has been my horse of a lifetime and I am immensely proud of everything she has achieved.”