20-year-old horse who ‘loves his job’ to compete in Hickstead’s Queen’s Cup

  • The rider of a 20-year-old horse who has been competing at his current level for some 10 years says as long as he continues to love his job, he will keep on jumping.

    Darren Wise’s ride Calaero, veteran of countless international classes including the Hickstead Derby and Speed Derby, is still on top form, clocking up just four faults in yesterday’s (24 July) CSI2* class at the Royal International Horse Show, and aiming for today’s Science Supplements BHS Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

    Darren, who has been riding the horse since he was a four-year-old, told H&H he was originally bought for someone else, but he was “too wild”.

    “When I got him, I wasn’t sure if it would work; we tried calmers but nothing worked,” he said. “But in the end, it boiled down to the simple things; not trying to change him but letting him be what he wants to be.”

    Darren said “Jojo”, who is owned by Linda Savage and Paula Bishenden, has always loved his job, and is “probably jumping better now than he did when he was younger”.

    “He owes me nothing and I owe him everything,” he said. “Probably our best achievements were getting to Horse of the Year Show, which he did for me twice, and of course coming here; as a youngster you dream about going through that arch. He won the 1.35m championship in there and has jumped in the Derby. He allowed me to do that, and to do things you don’t think are possible.

    “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.”

    Darren is a former semi-professional footballer, who played for Millwall, followed by Beckenham Town. He gave the game up a few years ago, having always ridden as well in between games.

    “I love this job, and it was Jojo who made it possible,” he said. “I had a very special one before him, Chicago Lad, who gave me the bug, and then it was him.

    “I’m jumping the Queen’s Cup and hopefully he will go well; things have been going the right way.

    “He’ll let me know when he doesn’t want to do it any more; we know each other inside out and when he stops loving the job, he’ll let me know and that will be it — but I don’t think that’ll be for a while yet.”

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