Drooling over beautiful young horses is one of the great joys of watching horse sport… imagining how they might become stars of the future, winning Badminton, Burghley or an Olympic medal.
Here is a selection of six-, seven- and eight-year-old eventers who have caught our eye so far this season…
Above is Cola III, an eight-year-old by Catoki. He landed the seven-year-old British Eventing title last year and followed up with second in the under-21 CCI2* at Houghton last weekend. Cola is owned by Rachel Upton and ridden by her daughter Bubby, who has two horses on the young rider European Championships long-list, including this one.
Chris Stone’s Chilli Knight is certainly bred in the purple — his sire is Badminton winner Chilli Morning and his dam is four-star mare Kings Gem. Ridden by Gemma Tattersall, the eight-year-old recently finished third in the CCI3* at Houghton on his dressage score.
Alex Wakeley’s Cristal Fontaine, a six-year-old by Chef Rouge, has had no less than four wins this season, including in a CIC* at Bicton Arena and a novice regional final at Tweseldown. His pilot is Kitty King.
Diachello II, owned by Kent Gardner and his rider Jesse Campbell, was recently the runner-up in the CCI* at Houghton. An eight-year-old by Diorado, he only started eventing last year.
Piggy French is on flying form this season and the eight-year-old mare Graf Cavalier, by Grafenstolz and owned by Trevor Dickens, has been playing her part. She has had three wins, including in the CIC* at Great Witchingham and was second in the CCI2* at Houghton.
LVS Movistar, an eight-year-old by Iroko, impressed when second in a CIC* at Bicton Arena for owner-rider Bella Lloyd Webber.
Pippa Funnell is an incredible producer of young horses so pretty much anything she rides is worth watching. Maybach, owned by SHE Eventing AB, is an eight-year-old by Jaguar Mail. As is Pippa’s way, he has not been pushed against the clock, but he won an intermediate at Aston-le-Walls.
Another who earnt a spot on the young rider long-list with a strong performance at Houghton, Rehy DJ and his rider Yasmin Ingham topped the under-21 CCI2*. He is an eight-year-old by Tinaranas Inspector, owned by Edwin and Sue Davies and their daughter Janette Chinn.
Christopher Makin’s Ars Vivendi seven-year-old Rehy Royal Diamond is quietly on the up with woman-of-the-moment Ros Canter. With an open novice win at Aston-le-Walls under his belt, he landed sixth in the CCI* at Houghton.
Which one would you like to take home? We can all dream…
Pictures by Peter Nixon and Hamish Mitchell.