Top British showjumper John Whitaker has a new horse to add to his string this year.
Old Lodge has sent its home-bred eight-year-old Abdul Aziz (pictured) to John to begin his international career.
The son of Diamant De Semilly has been produced by Steven Franks, qualifying for the seven-year-old championship at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in 2011.
The gelding arrived on John’s Yorkshire yard two weeks ago and will make his overseas debut on the Spanish Sunshine Tour in February.
“He’s been produced very well by Steven Franks so I’m looking forward to riding him in Spain,” John told H&H.
Steven, who had been preparing the horse for his 2012 campaign, told H&H he was surprised at the move, but agreed that John had better access to international shows.
“I am devastated to lose the horse as he is about to start his international career,” he said. “It is rare to find a horse of his calibre, he has a great career ahead of him.”
Old Lodge has also invested in a six-year-old stallion, bought in partnership with Shane Breen. Figo De Muze came from renowned showjumper Jos Lansink but the son of Vigo D’Arsouilles has been renamed Golden Hawk.
“Golden Hawk is one of the most exciting young horses that I have ever sat on,” said Shane. “He has the natural talent to go to the very top of world showjumping. The plan is to produce him carefully in 2012 and 2013 ready for five-star grands prix in 2014.”
Meanwhile, in Amsterdam last weekend Guy Williams made a winning debut with his new partner Bijou Van De Vijfheide, an 11-year-old chestnut mare by Darco, who came from Irish showjumper Trevor Coyle. Guy took the ride to replace Titus II – recently sold to Edwina Tops-Alexander.
“She’s careful, competitive and has enough jump,” says Guy. “I’ll be using her in the big classes.”