Thankfully Russell Guire ignored people telling him he “shouldn’t bother” with Treaison Roulette. The 10-year-old Appaloosa stands at a whopping 18.2hh, and it is for this reason some people doubted him.

“There’s no denying he’s huge, but he’s so adaptable and trainable, it really doesn’t matter,” explains Russell, who runs Centaur Biomechanics in Warwickshire.

The British-bred gelding, by Rubin Star N out of Appaloosa mare Engel vom Berkenhof has been owned by Rosie Bush since he was a weanling.

“I really wanted an Appaloosa,” says Rosie, who also owns two of his younger half siblings. “His parents were 16.1hh and 16.2hh respectively and as a youngster we had him at home and just watched him grow and grow!”

“We’ve taken our time with him due to his size,” says Russell, who has ridden Treaison Roulette since he was four. “He’s a huge character and has a 25-year-old companion pony who lives with him — he might be big but sometimes he needs his hand holding.”

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Russell, who trains with Eric Mackenzie and Gareth Hughes was competing in the Spillers medium freestyle silver class at the NAF Five Star winter dressage championships. The pair rode to music from The Greatest Showman and finished third on a score of 69.39%.

“He was great and I always think it’s best to be fun with music,” says Russell. “It’s also relatively new as the film was only released in the second half of last year which I think makes it more interesting.”

For a full report from the British Dressage Winter Championships and Area Festival final – as well as news, views and expert comment – don’t miss Thursday’s (19 April) issue of Horse & Hound