Leslie Law took time out from the European Eventing Championships at Blenheim on Sunday to retire his long-time campaigner Shear H2O in a special ceremony at the event.
The 15-year-old Irish-bred gelding, known as Solo at home, is by Stan the Man and is owned by Jeremy Lawton of Shearwater Insurance. He earnt more than £80,000 in prize money and amassed 1817 points during his 11-year career, putting him second in British Eventing’s “Grand Elite” table.
The partnership represented Britain in the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000, where they were placed seventh individually and brought home team silver. Shear H20 has been a useful British team regular during his career, helping Britain to bronze at the World Equestrian Games in 2002 and team gold at the European Eventing Championships in 2001.
“Solo has realised dreams for me I did not even imagine I had,” says Lawton. “For Leslie, he was the horse that finally gave him the success he had worked and strived so long for. If Solo had not been as good as he was we might never have bought Shear L’eau and Leslie might not be Olympic Champion.”
The horse set off on his path to glory with a win at Bramham three-star in 1999, finishing 10th at Burghley later in the year, aged just nine. The following spring, he finished a close second behind Mary King and Star Appeal at Badminton.
During 2002-2003, Shear H2O finished third and fifth at Badminton with 10th and 11th placings at Burghley, showing impressive consistency at top level, as well as numerous wins and placings elsewhere.
Shear H2O’s best Burghley purformance was fifth place in 2004. Since then, however, the gelding has not really shown his form, which Law puts down to a “lack of enthusiasm.”
“He is still a great horse, with great ability and scope. He has had an incredible career, and owes us nothing. At the moment he doesn’t seem to be as keen to go as he has been, and it seems the right time to retire him,” says Law.
Shear H20 will remain with Leslie and Trina Lightwood at their base in Naunton, Worcestershire where he will enjoy a happy and well deserved retirement. Meanwhile, Law will continue to ride Shear H2O’s full brother, and reigning Olympic gold medal winner Shear L’Eau, along with rising star of his yard Coup de Coeur.