British team gold medallist and five-star event winner Gemma Tattersall has jumped and been placed in her first showjumping ranking grands prix, on a pocket-rocket mare who is “almost human” in her intelligence.
Gemma rode Isabel Fox’s MGH Candy Girl to 10th place in her first ranking grand prix on 20 March, then came third in the 1.45m grand prix on 27 March, at CSI Lier in Belgium.
Gemma said the nine-year-old Sligo Candy Boy mare, whom she rode to third place in the Talent Seekers final at the 2021 Horse of the Year Show, jumped some ranking classes in Oliva last year.
“She didn’t jump in a grand prix then because she wasn’t quite ready, but in Lier she jumped her first proper grand prix the first week, then did it again the second week and came third,” Gemma told H&H. “I can’t tell you how chuffed I was.”
Gemma said the mare, who is “only tiny; no bigger than 15.3hh/16hh”, was bought initially to be an eventer.
“I soon realised she wasn’t going to be an event horse!” she said. “At four, she jumped top of the wings over a pole on the ground. I felt she was an athlete no matter what she ended up doing and she is, that’s one thing I love about her.
“Izzy Fox was very open and happy to do either, and I think she’s really got the showjumping bug!”
Gemma added that the plan with Candy is to keep jumping and see where she goes, with the aim of contesting some three-star grands prix this year.
“She’s just amazing,” she said. “She’s so careful and such an athlete, with so much heart and fight in her. She’s one of the most intelligent horses I’ve ever known; almost human in her intelligence, and a force of nature; you have to be one step ahead of her or you’d probably end up on the floor! A really wonderful little horse.”
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