Meet the spotty dressage championship contender with grand prix aspirations

  • Among the scores of warmbloods in action at Addington, one special pony stood out at the 2024 Petplan Winter Area Festival Championships. Naomi Aguilar’s delightful 14.1hh Appaloosa pony Whitehawk Dancing Fire (Enzo) contested both the Petplan Prix St Georges and Inter I Bronze Championships, finishing a consistent 12th in each one.

    “He finds the atmosphere quite exciting – he’s a bit hot and so am I, but I am so pleased with him,” said Naomi. “He’s so reliable, so it was rider error more than anything.”

    She spotted Enzo as a two-month-old foal on Facebook from Whitehawk Stud in Bristol, and bought him “on impulse” for just £800.

    Whitehawk Dancing Fire as a foal

    Whitehawk Dancing Fire as a foal

    “I came downstairs and said, ‘Dad, I’ve bought a spotty foal!’,”  said Naomi, who was 19 at the time. “He came over to Jersey, where I live, when he was six months old, and it took me another six months to catch him.

    “I’ve done everything with him right from backing him. I bought him because I fell in love with him, not to be a dressage horse, and he’s bred just to be a cute spotty pony, but he’s so good as we’ve gone up the levels. We’re now training at grand prix, and have just done our first inter II and he was amazing.”

    Doing Petplan Winter Area Festival Championships prep on the beach

    Enzo, now rising 10, not only has a talent for dressage, but was also in the ribbons in showing classes at the Jersey Horse of the Year Show, and is a great jumper. Back in Jersey, they spend their downtime swimming in the sea. Naomi even backed him on the beach.

    “I took him for a hand-walk and my friend dared me to swim on top, so I did and we were away!” she says.

    Whitehawk Dancing Fire swimming in sea

    But being based on the island has its disadvantages. Attending these championships involved an 12-hour overnight ferry trip, and a two-week stay. They are hoping to take a four-hour ferry back, but only if the sea is very calm.

    “We had to come over early as the wind started to pick up, so they said we had to take the ferry that night or never,” said Naomi. “And the ferry is expensive – about £700–1,000, plus the import fees and all the stabling. But I come over to compete as much as I can get here, about three or four times a year. It’s a real honour to be here.”

    Sara Squires and Laetitius C won the inter I, with Fiona Newall and Fendy VCG taking the prix st georges.

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