Meet the banana-loving horse from Colombia — who’s turning into a superstar

  • Canada’s world number three Eric Lamaze was a winner at the Longines Global Champions Tour of London at the weekend (3-5 August) riding the breathtakingly fast Chacco Kid. In taking top spot in Saturday’s grand prix qualifier, he just beat Frenchman Simon Delestre (Hermes Ryan) — the rider for whom a young Chacco Kid was originally intended.

    “The Colombian showjumping team coach had told Simon about the horse and he asked me if I would take him at my place in Florida as he travelled from South America to Europe where he’d eventually go to Simon,” explained Eric.

    “But I rode him and loved the horse so much and a group of people bought him with me.

    “The first year we got him [2016] he had no mileage and it was Olympic year so I was trying to save Fine Lady for that which meant he had some big tasks ahead [in the competition ring], which he was not ready for. So he never really learned to compete and go fast because I was always protecting him.

    “But in the past year it’s all been about teaching him the ropes and now he’s won quite a bit and is really coming in to his own — he can be fast, scopey, he’s everything. And he’s such a great guy — a super friendly horse who just likes to eat oranges and bananas.”

    Continued below…

    The pair arrived here from the big grass arenas of Spruce Meadows and Aachen and Eric admits he overdid it on day one in the closer confines of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, making “a big mistake” between the first two fences.

    “I underestimated the stride there — I thought the seven strides was going to be forward and the plan was to get to the bottom of that second element,” explained Eric. “But I overdid it and somehow the six showed up and I was like ‘What the…’

    “Anyway, I wanted to redeem myself today!” he said after Saturday’s win. “When I walked the course I looked at a few inside turns but after watching how the class was rolling, I decided just to go round everywhere at his own speed — which is quick!”

    Don’t miss the full report from the Longines Global Champions Tour of London, with exclusive comment from John Whitaker, in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday, 9 August.

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