Profiles

Stable Personalities: Roberta Sheffield’s Fairuza (aka Wonky)

Canadian Paralympian Roberta Sheffield’s Fairuza may not be your typical para-dressage horse, but she and her rider are the perfect match.

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By: Horse Media Group |

Backstory: I found her four years ago, untouched, living wild in a herd, kind of by accident. She wasn’t what I had been looking for at all.

Seeing the para possibilities: She’s probably not the ideal para horse for many riders, but she’s an amazing para horse for me. Physically, Wonky is the right mix of height and width for my body. She supports my hips well and the biomechanics of her movement suit my pelvis. Her brain suits me. She’s a sensible but high-energy extrovert. She’s that good sort of hot. Wonky loves to learn and play; she wants to be part of our little team.

What’s in a name: When I brought her home, she had no name. We unloaded this petrified little scrap of a horse in the dark and rain. Her strange asymmetric blaze was about the only thing visible as she cowered in the corner of my truck. Jess, whose barn I took her to, said ‘Look at that face, she’s got to be called Wonky.’

Funniest quirk: Whenever I go away for more than a couple of days, she turns feral again. The girls at the barn can’t catch her in the field; I mean, really can’t get anywhere near her. She did this when I was in both Rio 2016 and WEG 2018. Even people she knows, that handle her every day, that feed her.

Biggest accomplishment to date: Her career is very much still on the build, so I guess that would be her international scores that have met team selection criteria for Tokyo 2020.

Most embarrassing moment: My first training session with a new, very prestigious trainer, in front of an audience. It was her first time away from home in that sort of situation. He went to stroke her and she kicked him bang! Right in the thigh. She’s fine with him now.

If not dressage?: I’m sure Wonky would love to be having babies. She would be an amazing tiger mama. Often I think she treats me as her bossy, unruly foal, as she’s very protective. She nickers to me like a mare does to a foal.

Wonky Stats

Description: 10-year-old bay Gelderlander cross mare, 16.3 h.

Barn name: Wonky, Wonky Horse

Rider/owner: Roberta Sheffield

Pedigree: Unknown

Bred in: Great Britain

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