Oh, this horse! You know when you meet certain celebrities and they just ooze charisma and star quality? Well, that’s Vinny. If he were a human, he’d be a movie star, turning up to premiers in his Armani tux and working the red carpet like he was born to do it.
If you are in the know of the ‘who’s who’ in the showing world, the name Silent Words II will certainly ring bells. Retired, two time HOYS Hack Champion, his track record in the show ring is as impressive as he is. And when Carman asked me to travel the four hour journey to Wales, to visit him, I jumped at the chance.
Vinny, who’s been retired for a good few years now, was so excited to have his photograph taken. Actually, I think he thought, having been groomed and trimmed up, that he was going to his first show in years. He suddenly grew a few extra hands and was strutting about the yard like he knew exactly how handsome he was.
As Carman lives in Surrey and couldn’t make the trip to Wales with us, for the shoot, she kindly emailed me telling me all about Vinny’s life with her. So, for a change, I’m going to keep my nattering to a minimum, as I thought I’d let her do the rest of the talking…
“People often ask me about how Vinny came about and I laugh because he was a total spur of the moment thing. I called Robert Walker on a Friday night, in May 2006, just to confirm that it was still okay for us to pop in and see them, the following morning. Of course, he replied and he then went on to tell me he had purchased a small hack, that afternoon. Without thinking I said I’ll have that and the deal was done. It was as simple as that. (Huge thanks to Jane Pimbley for selling Vinny to Rob!)
Vinny’s first ever show was Cheshire Premier Spring 2007, as a practice run for the novice hack class at Royal Windsor. He won at Cheshire, qualifying for the RIHS and then he won his class at Windsor too. That was followed by going supreme at Garstang, champion hack at the National Show and then winning the Small Hack of the Year title, with the Championship at HOYS 2007. Yes, he really is a dream maker!
2008 started in the same winning way and he finished the season doing the double at HOYS 2008! What a horse, what a legend! With those achievements behind him we decided to slow his career down and he had a few smaller outings, as he loved the limelight.
Vinny has been retired for a number of years now and he is enjoying his retirement on livery with friends in Wales. He adores the Welsh grass and his little herd of girlfriends. His days are spent focusing on eating the lush grass, whilst his nights are spent stabled next to his girlfriends. A great retirement for a special horse that made a fairytale come true. He’s loving it, it’s suiting his cheeky personality. I think they broke the mould when Vinny was born. Every part of him says ‘showman’ and still, to this day, people comment on how special he was.
He gave me absolutely everything and doesn’t owe me anything… I however, owe him everything and more, and it’s my job is to make sure that he enjoys his retirement. Every waking moment of it.”
Thank you, Carman, for letting me photograph your special boy in all of his retired glory. What a superstar and a real cheeky monkey! I hope I’ve done him justice for you.
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