Big-name horses join Harry Charles, with Europeans and Olympics the target

  • British showjumper Harry Charles made his competitive debut with new ride Balou Du Reventon, one of the most successful horses in the world, in Spain on Thursday (12 January).

    The 23-year-old rider has taken the reins on Ann Thompson’s 17-year-old superstar stallion, who was previously ridden by USA’s Brian Moggre and Darragh Kenny of Ireland.

    “He’s the perfect horse all round,” Harry told H&H. “Sometimes getting in the ring after being at home is a bit different, but hopefully in a couple of rounds we should be good to go.

    “He’s been out of competition since the World Championships in August, so he’s had a long, long break. So these rounds are about getting to know him. He feels amazing – he definitely does not feel his age.”

    The German-bred son of Cornet Obolensky was produced to the top level by Russian rider Liubov Kochetova, and Darragh Kenny took over from Jorge Matte Capdevila when Ann Thompson bought the rising star in 2018. Darragh and Balou were part of Ireland’s winning team at the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona and competed at the 2019 European championships, adding a string of five-star grand prix wins and placings in their two years together.

    Ann Thompson announced the formal dissolution of her partnership with the Irish showjumper in 2020 and Harry Charles was at that time the recipient of the brilliant Romeo 88 while Balou Du Reventon moved to young US rider Brian Moggre at the start of 2021, quickly resuming his winning ways. The pair jumped on Nations Cup teams and Balou, who has no front teeth, was last seen representing USA at the 2022 World Showjumping Championships in Herning with Brian.

    The stallion has since joined Harry’s string to run alongside Ann’s other horses including Harry’s Tokyo Olympic and World Championship bronze medal-winning partner Romeo 88 and Aralyn Blue, plus another tremendously exciting new ride for Harry, I’m Special V, another former ride of Brian Moggre with whom Harry made an eye-catching debut in the ring at St Tropez in the autumn.

    “We have plans for Balou Du Reventon but we’re very much going to pick our days – I’ll be eyeing up a few of the biggest ones in the calendar, but we’ll very much take it as it comes,” said Rolex testimonee Harry Charles of the teenage stallion. “But you’re definitely not going to see him out every week.

    “We’re seeing a few more older horses like him staying in the sport now, which is super – in the old days it used to be the norm that horses would go on to 19, 20. Balou Du Reventon has had a good life and people have taken very good care of him throughout his life – that’s why he’s been able to stay at the top of sport for so long. It’s a credit to everyone really.”

    Harry Charles is currently competing on the Spring MET (Mediterranean Equestrian Tour) in Oliva Nova, Spain, with Balou Du Reventon and four other horses. He says new ride I’m Special V and long-term partner, the 10-year-old Sherlock, who recently stepped up to five-star level very impressively, are his “two top prospects for this year”.

    “I’m Special V might be one of my prospects for the Europeans, and possibly the Paris Olympics next year,” said Harry of the 10-year-old gelding (I’m Special De Muze x Indoctro). “He’s definitely one to keep an eye out for.”

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