Pointing his toes like a prima ballerina and stretching his limbs with breathtaking athleticism, there’s no way Explosion W is going to let a 1.60m oxer get in his way.
The 10-year-old gelding and his regular pilot Ben Maher were in action in the Rolex grand prix at the CHIO Aachen on Sunday (23 July) when H&H’s photographer Peter Nixon captured the leading British pair giving their all to clear one of the toughest tracks in the world.
Despite soaring over every fence with inches to spare in the first two rounds, unfortunately in the jump-off Ben and the 10-year-old son of Chacco Blue knocked down the penultimate fence to finish third behind Kent Farrington of the USA riding Gazelle. However, the Poden Farms-owned Explosion’s scope and agility always thrills the crowds.
“I’ve been lucky to have many good horses in my career, but Explosion is made of something different,” said Ben of the gelding with whom he is long-listed for the European Championships next month. “He gives me all the confidence we can do anything. He’s friendly and an easy horse to train. He loves the sport and I think that shows in his performances.”
‘I’m delighted that I’ve been able to put forward such a strong nominated list for the European Championships’
The British rider joined six others in the jump-off after two clear rounds and scored a top-three finish with Explosion
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The pair, who won the first big class of the week in Aachen, enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top tier in 2018, with grand prix victories in Doha and Madrid among their list of big wins.
“He just loves life,” says Ben of the 17hh chestnut, stating last year with great foresight that he could well become “one of the best showjumpers in the world”.
“I know he’s such a fighter and he’s not going to let me down.
“His game face is always on and he believes he can win. He gives me as a rider the belief that I can also do anything.”
Ben Maher is in action on home soil this week at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead before returning to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, for the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour (2-4 August).
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