‘A very special mare’: farewell to grandmother of Carl Hester’s medal-winner

  • The granddam of Carl Hester’s medal-winning ride Hawtins Delicato has been put down aged 26, leaving a dressage dynasty as her legacy.

    Judith Davis’s state premium Hanoverian mare World’s Finest had enjoyed a “lovely” retirement at Hawtins Stud, the last of its foundation mares. She won the H&H outstanding mare award in 2017 owing to her contribution to British breeding.

    In 2016, “Wolfie” had three progeny (Hawtins Floriana, Hawtins Horatio and Hawtins Falerno), two grandsons and two granddaughters (Hawtins Delicato, Hawtins Barolo, Hawtins Duchessa and Hawtins San Floriana) at the British Dressage national championships.

    Two became national champions (Hawtins Delicato at prix st georges and Hawtins San Floriana in the four-year-old championships).

    All her direct offspring have competed at, or are training towards, grand prix level, and Ms Davis told H&H not only was every foal she produced a good one, she was also a lovely horse herself.

    “It’s not the same without her,” she said. “We had a lot of fun with her, doing a lot of things, and it’s a big loss.”

    Ms Davis bought Wolfie as a six-year-old, as one of six foundation mares for Hawtins Stud, which was started with the aim of breeding quality dressage horses.

    “We breed for the long term, not the short; we don’t sell as foals,” Ms Davis said. “It’s quite thrilling for her to have had so many children reach that level, as that’s what we were aiming to do.

    “It was very special to win the H&H award as it was so nice for her to get that recognition. Everyone always talks about the stallion, but without the mare, you’ve got nothing.”

    Wolfie also won the mare family award at the British Hanoverian show twice, the second time aged 22.

    “We took her to the show and she had a good trot round; she’s always been very well,” Ms Davis said.

    “She was like a supermodel; she’d give birth, and then look amazing again straight afterwards.”

    Ms Davies said Wolfie passed on her “lovely big ears” to all her offspring, and to grandson Hawtins Delicato (pictured, above), who was on the bronze medal-winning team with Carl at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

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    “That was quite amazing,” she said. “To have bred a horse on the British team, and win a medal; that’s the stuff dreams are made of.

    “If you have a good mare, with a good pedigree, I think you’re the custodian of it, it’s a big responsibility. When you have a good mare, it’s easy to make bad decisions; if it’s an average mare, it’s relatively easy to breed something better but with a good mare, there’s a good chance you’ll breed something worse

    “Wolfie has been a very special mare to us.”

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