Like mother, like son: tiny home-bred star to follow in his dam’s footsteps for Britain

  • Sarah Bullimore will achieve a rare feat this autumn when she rides on a British senior championship squad on her home-bred gelding Corouet, whose dam Lilly Corinne she rode on her last championship appearance.

    Sarah found out she had been chosen for this year’s European Eventing Championships in Avenches, Switzerland, when she had a call from British eventing high performance coach Chris Bartle while she was sitting in the lorry park at Blair Castle Horse Trials on Wednesday – the same venue where she rode at the European Championships in 2015. On that occasion, she had driven up to the Scottish event overnight as reserve and was called up to compete on Wednesday before the trot-up when Dani Evans had to withdraw Smart Time from the squad.

    “I think we may have to come to Blair Castle more often!” said Sarah after her selection was announced today. “I can’t tell you how unbelievably honoured I am to have been selected and how proud I am to have bred such a freak of a horse out of such a superstar mare. I would love to find out whether a mother and son have both represented Team GBR before in eventing.”

    Sarah Bullimore competing Corouet's dam, Lilly Corinne

    Sarah Bullimore and Lilly Corinne competing at Wellington in 2012.

    Corouet – known as Elfie – is Lilly’s first offspring, born by embryo transfer. He is by Balou Du Rouet, the sire of Sarah’s prolific five-star campaigner Reve Du Rouet. Elfie is a notably small horse, with Sarah saying he measured 15.2hh as a four-year-old and she hasn’t measured him since “because I’d have to admit how small he is”.

    “He thinks he’s 18.2hh and has a huge stride,” says Sarah. “You just have to remember before you leap off as if you’re on a big one and smack your feet on the floor!

    “Elfie always had such presence – he was a confident, cocky little devil, very sure of himself. But all Lilly’s offspring have been lovely to back and break in. I think it helps they spend their early days in a field next to the school, so they watch and learn.

    “At the time I was starting him, I was looking for other horses for owners too. I looked at hundreds and kept coming back and seeing him on the lunge or long-reining and thinking there was nothing out there even half as good as this. He might be a couple of inches smaller than most, but the quality has always been there.”

    Corouet was a reserve nominated entry for the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year. His good results include third in the CCI4*-L at Burnham Market last autumn, sixth in the CCI4*-L at Bicton Horse Trials this June and second in the CCI4*-S at Burgham.

    Do you know of a mare and her offspring who have both represented Team GBR? Write to us at hhletters@futurenet.com, including your nearest town and county – the writer of the letter of the week wins a bottle of Champagne Taittinger.

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