Alf proves he is at his best
ONE year on from sustaining a major injury, Alf the horse bounded back to take a top prize at the prestigious Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).
Alf, or Constellation II to give him his full name, was named overall amateur coloured champion at the elite equestrian championships, impressing the judges in appearance, performance and general behaviour.
And the coveted rosette completes a remarkable fairytale story for him and his owner William Pittendrigh (18), of Kiln Pit Hill, after the vets delivered the devastating news just over a year ago that the horse would never compete again because of injury.
Just days before last year's RIHS, Alf tore his collateral ligament and the knee injury sustained led the experts to write off a possible return to riding.
William was understandably upset, and wanted the best for his beloved friend.
After six months resting up the stable and copious amounts of rehabilitation, Alf was ready to get back trotting and he soon indicated that a return to competition was on the cards.
And it was like he had never been away as he sailed through qualification for RIHS, where he stole the show in class by being at his complete best.
William said: "It was very spectacular, and I was beyond thrilled he won. I didn't expect it at all, so I was elated.
"Alf definitely deserved it. He came out and just knew it was his time, if that makes any sense?
"It sounds silly but he just knew it was all about him and when he came out for the lap of honour, he danced!
"He went really well and he knew what to do, and it was like a dream come true."
William added: "It was almost like he wanted to prove to everybody that he was back to his best, and he knew he had to perform.
"He never got the chance last year because of injury so he went out and showed everybody just how well he could perform, and he couldn't have gone any better.
"I always say that, if he was a human, Alf would have Love and Hate tatooed on his knuckles as he is as sturdy as they come."