A tribute to Titanic


Lorette admits that she didn’t get on very well with Titanic at first, but their partnership strengthened with time

As I start to write this, I’m already feeling quite choked up. Over an almost five-year period, Nissan Titanic (fondly known as T) and I made many wonderful memories together, with lots of ups and downs, as with every horse-rider partnership.

Before I go any further, I want to explain that although there are many facts included here, I believe in the use of qualified equine vets, physios and chiros, and I also believe in alternative medicine. I believe in God, but I am also very spiritual. I believe in the use of healers, clicker trainers, horse communicators, and psychics and shamans. As such, I not only had a great riding and competition life with Titanic, but also had an amazingly spiritual journey with my beautiful grey protector.

The journey to Farnham

Ashlee Taylor with Farnham Titanica around Christmas time, the Taylors’ only filly foal

Barry, my husband of 14 years, taught Wayne van der Burgh on Titanic originally. Wayne imported him into South Africa in 2010 and remained involved as our partner until his passing in January 2017.

“Titanic was imported from Belgium in 2010 along with three other horses: Clyde Z, Romero Z and Jolie. It was my best trip ever to Belgium. From day one I fell in love with Titanic. I was a very amateur rider, but he was so brave and he gave me so much confidence. His huge scope and ability made it possible for me to jump in the Open classes. He was quality in every respect and he will be missed by everyone!” says Wayne. “Bye, my boy! You were part of the best days of my life and will never be forgotten. Thanks, Lorette, for taking such good care of Titanic. There is nobody I know who loved him more than you. He was in the best hands ever and that’s why he did so well for you!” he adds.

When Wayne decided to stop riding due to work commitments, he offered Titanic to Barry to sell. When Barry initially told me about Titanic being for sale, it was like a little girl’s dream come true! Barry phoned Wayne and told him that we would like to buy him. We planned the trial and off we went (with my other biggest supporter, my dad, in tow). The trial was at Wayne’s home and stables at that time, which are now Stan and Leoni van der Burgh’s home. I tried one horse before Titanic, and I remember thinking at the time if I couldn’t ride this smaller and slighter gelding, I would never be able to handle an even bigger stallion. Titanic went beautifully for me; he was like a really fancy car with such comfortable paces and the softest mouth. I felt easily able to control him on the flat and over some very big jumps. He was super scopey and he made me feel so brave. I felt I could attempt jumping a house and he wouldn’t say no.

Barry and I went home (me like a little kid at Christmas), discussed it all, agreed he would be great for me and had him vetted. We met with Wayne, who still wanted to be involved with the stallion as a partner, agreed on a few things, and shortly thereafter the magnificent stallion arrived at Farnham Stables, shortly before my birthday on 24 August 2012. My first show with him was at the Revil World Cup Qualifier in the Open classes, and I also rode him in his first big Derby that year too.

Text: Lorette Knowles-Taylor

The full article appears in the April issue of HQ (121) > Shop now