There can be few greater lineages than those boasted by Argento’s offspring. The recently retired stallion, who enjoyed such an outstanding showjumping career with John Whitaker, is a son of Nick Skelton’s Olympic mount Arko III out of Keeley Durham’s mare Flora May, who is by Gasper, tracing back to Hugo Simon’s Hamburg Derby winner Jasper.
As well as his impeccable bloodlines, Argento is also passing on his immense scope and carefulness over the jumps — not to mention his stunning good looks.
The 18-year-old stallion came relatively late to stud duties, but here is a selection of his offspring already making a mark in various disciplines, as well as giving their owners a huge amount of pleasure — and hats off to those that have named some of these youngsters!
1. Argi Bargi
Known to his friends as Bryan, this rising seven-year-old belongs to Charlotte Carlisle.
“He is mainly a showjumper but we have recently just introduced him to some arena eventing,” she says. “He has the best attitude to work and takes everything in his stride.”
This now nine-year-old gelding, known at home as Argo, was bred and backed by Tapitlaw Sport Horses in Fife. Sarah Murray has owned him for the past two years after buying him through Jordan Thomson of Kirkton Equestrian in Glasgow.
“I wasn’t looking for another horse — story of my life! — after having lost two horses to colic,” says Sarah. “Then my friend and trainer Andrew Hamilton saw him and said I had to try him. I declined at first, but a month later I sat on him and the rest is history — I’ve never sat on a horse and instantly had a feeling like that, I had to have him!”
Together, they’ve done working hunter classes, including at the Royal Highland Show, and are currently showjumping at newcomers level. He also loves to “hack for miles”.
“He has scope and ability to die for and a back end that you need super glue to sit to some days!” she says. “He’s the most brave and fearless horse, with an amazing character and he takes everything in his stride. I swear he knows what I’m thinking! He is a once in a lifetime horse and he makes me smile every day.”
3. That’ll Do
AKA “Scooby”. This smart grey gelding belongs to Hannah Brown.
“He has some big hoof prints to follow,” she says. “He’s a rising six-year-old showjumper. He hasn’t done a lot — I’ve only had him for eight months so have taken time to get his confidence.”
A five-year-old home-bred owned by Gemma Hughes is “showing potential so far in all disciplines”
Abigail Shaw rode this daughter of Argento, out of Woodlander Italia, to great success in the show ring, including being crowned as the SEIB Search For A Star riding horse of the year at Horse of the Year Show in 2015. Robert Sampson’s home-bred 10-year-old mare is now in-foal.
To celebrate this awesome stallion, we pick out
6. Arko LX
This six-year-old gelding even has the claim to fame of having met John Whitaker himself.
“I can’t wait to see what the future holds with this special guy,” says owner Steph Slater, who says she “adores the bones” of her Argento baby, and we can totally see why.
She bought the 16hh dark bay gelding, who was bred in Scotland by Claire Lithgow, at the beginning of June and they started their showjumping career in August. Together they jumped double clear in the British novice and competed in the working hunter at Blair Castle and qualified for the Dodson & Horrell national amateur and veteran championships at Aintree.
“Not only has this horse already proven to be talented and special, he is one of the nicest horses I know,” says Steph. “He has the most level head and a great attitude for work. He is such a character on the yard and everyone who meets him loves him. I would have my yard full of Argento offspring if I could!”
Steph was on the verge of giving up riding having suffered her “fair share of heartbreaks and injuries” but since she first sat on Arko, she hasn’t stopped smiling, she says.
“My passion and love for the sport has returned and for that I can’t thank him enough,” she says. “Sometimes they say that horses find you, something I never truly understood until I met Arko. He truly is my horse of a lifetime.”
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