‘We would jump 1,000 ditches a month from walk’: meet Harry Meade’s Pau five-star mount, who’s had a long road to top level

  • It has been a long road for Harry Meade to get Tenareze to five-star, but this week the 15-year-old will have his first crack at the level at Pau Horse Trials.

    Tenareze was initially produced by Frenchman Thomas Carlile, and together they won both the six- and seven-year-old World Championship for young horses at Le Lion D’Angers. Harry then took on the ride in 2015.

    “He was a stallion at the time, but we had already agreed with Thomas that Tenareze would be gelded,” explains Harry. “Obviously some some stallions can progress to a high level but they have to have an exceptional temperament and he was always distracted by interesting things in life!”

    Harry says that he went back to basics with Tenareze, who is owned by David Bernstein, Sophie Caruth and Nigella Hall.

    “The biggest thing for him has been his bravery with ditches. He’s a horse who has absolutely no malice, but he’s fundamentally very worried about holes in the ground. So it’s been a long journey to try and overcome that and put him in a position where I can keep his confidence as high as possible because it becomes diminished as we progress around a cross-country course.”

    Harry hunted and team chased Tenareze extensively, and even took him around a point-to-point course when it wasn’t being used for racing, to try to help overcome the horse’s fear of ditches.

    “We would jump 1,000 ditches a month, just on a loose rein out of a walk in a very nice, generous way, giving him a chance to look, see, understand, accept and jump,” explains Harry, who says he is coming into Pau with a very relaxed mindset. “I feel he’s the best prepared we could possibly have him – we’ve been working for seven years to get his confidence as high as possible.

    “So I feel now that hopefully he’ll be great, he’s had a good preparation, and so there’s absolutely no excuses. I will try and give him as much help as I can across country.”

    Harry Meade and Tenareze scored a very respectable 29.3 in the first phase at Pau yesterday (28 October), which puts them in 11th place going into the cross-country.

    “It was a bit of an unknown going into his first five-star dressage test, but I was thrilled as he was super,” says Harry. “He has a very short window where he can carry himself, so I gave him a canter off his back to help loosen him up first thing in the morning so that he physically limbered up without fatiguing. Then I put him away and got on 15 minutes before our test.

    “I walked down to the arena on a long rein, picked him up and in we went. It’s funny because it’s nothing to do with a lack of strength because he’s obviously super-strong and has been working at a high level for a long time. He just has a short window where he can carry himself.”

    Harry Meade and Tenareze will go cross-country at 2.32pm (1.32pm British time) later today.

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