Ben Maher’s relatively new ride Faltic HB has continued to impress since joining his stable in October last year and looks set to make his team debut for Great Britain in next week’s Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA.
The pair jumped double clear in the World Cup qualifier at the London International Horse Show in December to finish fifth and on Sunday (20 February) Ben rode the classy 12-year-old, owned by Oakingham Stud, to the runner-up spot behind Bertram Allen (Harley VD Bisschop) in the CSI3* $140,000 IDA Development grand prix.
“Thank you to Oakingham Stud for believing in me and giving him to me,” said Ben after the class. “He had a great upbringing in his life and jumped up to the three-star level. He had a little bit of a break with Covid in Europe, so he still just has to learn this next level and faster jump-offs, even though he’s 12. I was really happy with him today.”
Ben Maher stepped Faltic down to three-star level after a four-fault round in the previous week’s five-star grand prix at WEF to keep him “mentally confident”. He said it was the first time he had really pushed the KWPN stallion in a jump-off,
“It was a bit scary jumping the double [combination],” he revealed. “I was full commitment and nearly bounced it, but in the end was just not quite fast enough. I thought Bertram’s jump-off was perfect, fluid, and much faster at the end of the course than I was able to do today.”
Ben Maher and Faltic HB selected for Nations Cup
The stallion, by Baltic VDL out of a Concorde mare, was most recently ridden by Ireland’s Eoin Gallagher and proved a great asset for Ireland in two Nations Cup contests. He now looks set to carry the red, white and blue of Great Britain in WEF’s CSIO4* Nations Cup next Saturday (5 March).
Lining up alongside Ben Maher for Team GB will be USA-based Matthew Boddy on Purple Road’s 12-year-old gelding Balotelli 5, Sam Hutton with the 12-year-old H&M Kirlo Van Den Bosrand and Jessica Mendoza riding her own 10-year-old Play.
Other British riders enjoying success at WEF last week were Amanda Derbyshire, who won the Martha W. Jolicoeur leading lady rider award, while teenager Grace Debney triumphed in the $25,000 Hermes under-25 grand prix riding her superstar mare Boheme De La Roque.
Grace celebrated her 18th birthday on Friday and claimed her first victory of the week in Thursday’s 1.45m class.
“I think what sets [Boheme de la Roque] apart from my other horses is that I always have confidence in her,” said Grace. “I know she’s looking to win, and she’s looking to clear the jumps and do everything she can for me. I think that’s what helps me the most, that I’m fighting for her, but so is she.
“Boheme and I love being out on this grass field. Her stride opens up so much, like a lot of the horses. I think she’s having fun, and I’m having fun.”
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