From four-star eventers to top racehorses, here are a few of the equine celebs we’ve spotted on our hunting travels this season.
The hugely popular 2010 Burghley winner and Olympic bronze medallist has taken to hunting like a duck to water. He enjoys regular days with the Warwickshire with his owner, Lexi Jackson (not pictured).
Winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham and the Melling Chase at Aintree in 2012, this big, handsome bay is enjoying hunting with the Heythrop with Becky Blandford and has had a go at a couple of hunt rides this season, piloted by Luke Morgan.
Beanie Sturgis’ four-star event horse, 11th at Badminton in 2016, loves his days with the Beaufort during the winter.
The 2015 Paddy Power Gold Cup winner loves the odd day’s hunting to freshen him up before a race. Eventer Phoebe Buckley recently had a great day hedge-hopping with the Old Berks on him, and said: “He behaves beautifully. He loves hunting and watches the hounds non-stop, and it keeps him jolly and sweet between races.”
Multiple HOYS winner Starry Night was recently pictured in Horse & Hound hunting with the East Kent with West Street, ridden by Shelley Stuchbury.
Top Irish National Hunt horse Don Poli – winner of the 2015 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the 2015 Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown – has been seen looking very happy with the Meath this season, ridden by Emily MacMahon.
When trained by Philip Hobbs, Balthazar King won the 2014 Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, as well as many other big races. Now he’s enjoying hunting with the Tedworth with Izzi Beckett, wife of Flat trainer Ralph Beckett. Izzi says: “Balthazar King has adapted really well to his new life. He has taken to hunting like a natural. He loves watching hounds work and has impeccable manners. Needless to say, his jumping is outstanding!”
Winner of six Grade One chases, including the King George VI Chase at Kempton in 2013 and 2014, Silviniaco Conti is one of many horses from Paul Nicholls’ Ditcheat yard who enjoy the odd day’s hunting with the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale.
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Our Cashel Blue
Showing producers the Hood family hunt lots of their horses with the Dunston Harriers, so you might spot 2016 HOYS winner Our Cashel Blue in the field.
Vittoria Panizzon’s eventer, winner of the 2016 CIC3* at Strzegom in Poland, can be seen flying over some of the Ledbury’s biggest hedges.
“He has jumped some of the biggest hedges [joint-master] David Redvers has ever led us over, always up front,” says Vittoria. “He’s a little legend – thanks to his hunting, he loves big three-star tracks in the mud, like Bramham and Chatsworth. He’s a real ‘family pony’ and anyone can ride him; he’s done open team chasing, fun rides, and been autumn hunting, all alongside his eventing career.”