‘He still feels like he wants to do nothing else’: 20-year-old Olympic stallion resumes winning ways

  • Almost a year to the day since his last international showjumping victory, the outstanding veteran stallion Tic Tac returned to the winner’s enclosure in Wellington, Florida, with British showjumper Ben Maher.

    At the age of 20, Jane Clark’s Clinton stallion looked better than ever and enjoyed a trip over the fences in the grass Derby field at Equestrian Village during week two of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) to top Thursday’s (19 January) CSI3* 1.45m speed class with the Olympic champion in the saddle.

    “Tic Tac knows everything now, so it’s more about just keeping him fit and enjoying everything,” said Ben, who keeps the stallion in Florida all year round.

    “We don’t travel him to Europe. We’re very fortunate with the staff and team at home looking after him. He knows his job and he loves this arena.”

    The pair scorched round Oscar Soberon’s track to beat their 22 rivals in a time of 67.07sec. Second-placed rider Luiz Francisco De Azevedo of Brazil finished over two seconds slower riding Collin, while third place went to Max Wachman of Ireland with Coolmore Showjumping’s Quintini. All three combinations finished on the podium again in Saturday’s 1.50m jump-off class, where Ben and Tic Tac finished third behind the Brazilian and Irish riders.

    Ben Maher: ‘We take care of him’

    Showing his love for the venue, Tic Tac and Ben Maher had won the three-star grand prix on this same week at WEF in 2022, as well as in 2021. Ben has said of his 2016 Olympic ride: “we are very selective when we show him now because of his age” and Tic Tac was last seen at the CSI5* show in Toronto, Canada, in November.

    “I’ve said this before, but I think this arena is one of the nicest grass arenas in the world,” said the Hertfordshire rider, who is based in Florida for the next few months. “It’s really old-school ground here and I think as an older horse, he likes the brighter jumps and loves the ground.

    “We will potentially bring him out one more time on the grass, but we are very limited with what we do with him, and we take care of him; he’s still enjoying it. He honestly still feels like he wants to do nothing else.”

    Ben went on to finish second in the $50,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic grand prix riding Enjeu De Grisien, having won Thursday’s national qualifier with Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright’s nine-year-old Toulon gelding.

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