Tales from Stoneleigh: The pocket rocket who’s king of the yard

  • You can’t miss Dior III in a collecting ring full of horses at the national championships.

    The little chestnut stallion is a ball of energy, with a big white face and movement that shouts ‘look at me!’

    “He’s a total pocket rocket,” says Dior’s rider Tom Goode, who piloted the Gribaldi x Goodtimes stallion to second in the intermediate I straight class yesterday, and picked up fifth in the music today.

    “Our freestyle is themes from Suicide Squad and was put together by Tom Hunt,” he says of the pair’s punchy music test that scored 72.98%.

    “He’s been amazing this week, but he’s just a bit tired today; he’s only eight and this is the first time he’s done three tests like this,” Tom explains.

    Dior is known for his excitable prize-givings — his jumping dam-line was evident as he showed off with leaps and bucks.

    “I just sit there, smile, and enjoy it!” Tom laughs. “He’s such a bouncy ride; it’s like sitting on a rubber ball.”

    “He’s always had amazing paces; he’s so talented that there isn’t really any work he finds difficult.”

    Dior is owned by Sam Geddes, “a long-term friend and owner” for Emile Faurie’s yard, where Tom has worked for five years. Sam bought the horse as a weanling and competed him in the four-year-old classes at Stoneleigh.

    “I love my job,” says Tom. “There is a definite routine for the horses, and everyone knows what they’re doing. I ride 10-12 horses a day — a real mix of clients’ horses and our own.”

    “The biggest thing I’ve learned from Emile is that you have to put the work in; nothing comes easily.”

    A superstar stallion at home

    At home, Dior is as spicy as he is in the arena.

    “He’s king of the yard; he knows he’s special,” says Tom. “He’s my pride and joy.”

    International judge Isobel Wessels describes Dior as “an absolute grand prix horse in the making”.

    Tom agrees. “He loves to do the job and tries really hard; it’s in-built, plus he has an amazing canter.”

    Dior hasn’t been used for breeding since Tom started riding him, but Sam has some young horses on the ground.

    The next stop for the pair will be the Future Elite championship at Horse of the Year Show. This horse is certainly one to watch – don’t miss it.

    For a full report from the British Dressage national championships — including analysis, comment and insight — pick up a copy of Horse & Hound next Thursday, 22 September.

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