Rising eventing star Yasmin Ingham is open about the fact she considers Banzai Du Loir to be a potential horse for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“He is one of the most naturally talented and exciting horses I’ve ever had the privilege of riding,” she says in an interview on episode 54 of The Horse & Hound Podcast.
Yasmin first tried Banzai in 2019, when he was eight years old. A Selle Français by Nouma D’Auzay, he had been produced by Axel Coutte in France and was bought by Yasmin’s loyal owner Sue Davies and her daughter Janette Chinn through event horse agent Rachel Wakefield.
“I honestly I got on and didn’t want to get off,” says Yasmin. “He was just so powerful and excelled in every single phase – we did all three while I was there trying him. I was looking for faults and I couldn’t find any. Sue and Janette were super keen to get their hands on him.”
The first year Yasmin had Banzai Du Loir, 2019, she only managed to compete in a few events on him because she had a fall from another horse that summer. But they did finish the year with an intermediate win at Oasby in October. The pair’s first proper season should have been 2020, but of course with Covid-19, the year ended up being “very bitty”.
“But it was amazing to step up to four-star the end of 2020, and he had a great result at Burgham in his first four-star – he did a 27.9 dressage and jumped a double clear with two time-faults and ended up in the top 10 there,” says Yasmin.
The pair then went to the eight-and-nine-year-old championship, held that year at Burnham Market due to the cancellation of Blenheim Horse Trials.
“He was incredible – he did a beautiful test and a double clear inside the time to win,” says Yasmin.
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Yasmin first moved up to the higher levels of eventing on Night Line, who is owned by his rider and her parents Lesley and Stephen. He was bought as a seven-year-old in 2015.
“He was very green, but just such a raw talent, and we went down to lock in the sale over Burghley weekend because we thought we’d best get in there before people got back from Burghley,” she says.
“We went down into a big cross-country field – there were hundreds of cross-country fences, advanced level with no flags on, and he just cruised around everything, and made me feel so safe. That was the most important thing for me as I wanted a horse that was safe cross-country and had a good jump and everything else that came with him I could deal with or improve.”
Night Line was Yasmin’s partner at her first five-star at Pau Horse Trials in 2018, where the pair finished 16th.
The third horse in her current trio of top-level rides is Rehy DJ, with whom she took the under-21 national title in 2018 and finished fourth individually at the young rider Europeans the same year.
“‘Piglet’ is just excellent – I really love this horse,” enthuses Yasmin. “He was bought as a six-year-old from Ireland, again by Sue and Janette. At the Europeans we finished on the same score as the individual bronze medallists – it went down to showjumping time and Alex Kennedy was a couple of seconds quicker than me which was obviously great for her but unlucky for me.”
Since then Piglet has moved up the grades and been successful at four-star as well as competing at five-star at Pau in 2020.
Hear more from Yasmin by tuning in to episode 54 of The Horse & Hound Podcast here, or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.
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