1984 - January 11, 2006
So much can be said about Bristol. He was bought as a 4 year old to teach Genevieve, my oldest daughter, to ride. She was 9 years old. And did he teach her well! Bristol continued to teach hundreds of children to ride - including my second daughter Danika. He was patient, kind, gentle in the stable, but in the ring the rider needed to be alert, awake, and learn to be one step ahead of him ... otherwise, the famous shoulder would drop, and off came the child. He taught his riders to use half halts, do transitions, stay focused, to think.
Bristol did his fair share of winning in the show ring. He won many hack classes competing against horses. Once the rider had figured him out, he truly was a winner. Yes, many children stopped riding because of him - I used to compare him to the sorting hat from Harry Potter - he would sort out the kids who should continue with horses from the ones who should perhaps try another activity. I don't think he was ever wrong. Several years ago, Bristol became sick and a side effect of the drug used caused him to founder. He was never completely sound afterwards.
There are so many Bristol stories. He sure kept us entertained. Bristol holds the record for "partnering" the rider with the most falls in one lesson (7, with Genevieve).He was famous for escaping out of fields, so much so, that at point we never even bothered to put him in it, he would simply go where he wanted. Before performing some "bad" deed he would roll his eyes at the instructor as a warning.One instructor who used to teach all the small children on Saturdays would go home and tell her mother about the daily Bristol-escapades. When her Mom finally came to visit all the horses, she was anxious to see this famous Bristol. She was stunned to see this teeny pony, she was expecting a huge fire-breathing beast.He would, very nonchalantly, - and with an angelic look - reach with his front hoof and step on the rider's foot while they were tightening the girth.He was a favourite for the dress-up show. He once showed up as "My Little Pony" with tiny Sabrina Hidiroglou (our present Thursday/Sunday instructor). One rider, who warmed him up for too long, was taught her lesson in the show ring with a pony who escaped, bolted, and even got down to roll - all in the same test. This valiant little rider, re-grouped, and came back in the next test to handily win the class.In another dressage test, the rider stopped at X, Bristol bucked, the rider ended up on his neck, she leap-frogged off his head, got right back on, saluted, and proceeded as if nothing had happened. Bristol was the best friend of many young riders: Mike remembers seeing a young rider reading him the dressage test they were about to perform.
Bristol's friends included Charlemagne. Charlie would protect him from all the over horses if they decided to pick on him. And his last friends were Sophie, and the two yearlings Lucy and Raindancer. Those 4 were a tight-knit group who all cared for each other, and who stuck together.
Bristol will be missed by many.
- written by Shirley
From Jane Craig: I wanted to express my sympathies, and sadness, for the loss of Bristol. I apologize for not writing to you sooner, but I wanted to find an appropriate card to send. I never found anything that was good enough!╩ You know how much I, along with Sarah and my mom, adored Bristol. I have been looking at pictures of him from years ago and remember all the fun (and often exciting) times. I was probably one of his biggest fans. He will be missed.
From Leanne Dumoulin: Just wanted to drop a line to say I'm sorry to hear about Bristol, although
he was notorious for dumping kids, he was a very good teacher. He will be
missed at shows.
From Patti Roffey: I was saddened to learn about Bristol's passing. Stef has some very good - and very bad memories of that "enfant terrible." One time, it was one of her first dressage tests at a TGIF, we had spend the better part of the afternoon cleaning him up. He was cleaned, braided and brushed for the occasion. She entered the ring - in the arena - the whole crowd sighed a collective ,"Awwwww...that is so cute." I can't remember who the judge was, but I know we still have the test somewhere...she got several "8s" and everything was looking good until Bristol had to go past the open door at the side of the arena. He darted out of there so fast, with Stef on his back. As I recall he didn't manage to actually dislodge her until he reached one of the warm-up rings. Thankfully nobody was hurt - Stef just had her pride and her bottom bruised. I remember Stef's instructor at the time, saying that Bristol helped to make many a good rider, because they had to learn how to sit! He sure was one of a kind. Stef did get back on Bristol many, many more times after that and they even won a few classes together. I think that shortly after that time you got the gate for that side door! I remember thinking it was a Bristol gate...Stefanie was also sad to hear of Bristol's death. (Note from Shirley: I called that door the 'Bristol-door' for many years)
From MARION BRUN:
Il y avait longtemps que je n'étais venue voir le site. Je viens de lire que Bristol était mort. Je suis hyper triste. C'était mon bébé avait qui j'ai beaucoup appris. Il m'a fait énormément tombée mais il m'a appris ł avoir une meilleure assiette et donc un meilleur équilibre. Il restera toujours dans mon coeur. Je ne l'ai jamais oublié et je ne l'oublierai jamais.
Ma premiĆre coupe a été gagné avec lui, ce n'est pas rien.
Aujourd'hui, je monte toujours. Je prépare les championnats de France qui se dérouleront en Juillet prochain. Je fais du saut car le dressage ici n'est pas encore trop ł la mode. Mais pourquoi l'année prochaine.
Je pense toujours ł vous et je vous fais de grosses bises
Ode to Bristol
There once was a pony named Bristol
Who really was quick as a pistol
In his tracks he'd stop dead
And bring down his head
And down came the rider like lead
For More Pictures of Bristol, Visit Bristol's Page