What do you get when you cross Ben Maher’s Olympic ride Rolette with Nick Skelton’s dual gold medallist Big Star? Well, if the genes have anything to do with it, this five-year-old is going to be one megastar showjumper.
The Belgian Warmblood gelding Polaris SCF is owned and bred by the US-based Spy Coast Farm LLC, where the fantastic mare Rolette retired as a broodmare in 2012. On 25 October her blue-blooded youngster topped the $5,000 Developing Jumper Series 5-Year-Old Jumper Championship at Tryon International Equestrian Center under rider David O’Brien. The pair produced the only clear round in the jump-off.
“Both Polaris SCF’s father and mother jumped at the Olympics, which is kind of cool,” said David. “He is a pretty straightforward horse. The bigger the set, the more he is impressed, so it was nice to get him in there with that kind of atmosphere. In the jump-off, I was the last to go and the other two had a rail down, so I was able to take my time and, as my boss would say, ‘equitate it’.”
The top showjumping mare Rolette took Ben Maher to the 2008 Olympics where they were the best-placed Brits, finishing 19th individually. The 10-year-old left Ben’s yard in 2008 after being bought by Lisa Lourie for a rumoured £3.5million and went on to be ridden internationally by Irish-born Shane Sweetnam before she retired to stud.
This popular developing jumper series showcases and educates young equine talent in the United States and David swept all three age divisions in the finals with Spy Coast Farm-owned horses. He headed the six-year-olds with Octavius SCF (Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve x Beluga) and the seven-year-old final with Nightshade SCF (Baldev x Olisina).
Spy Coast Farm in Kentucky was founded in 2003 and offers a holistic approach to the breeding, training and healthcare of broodmares and foals. Owner Lisa Lourie has made a significant investment in American-bred sport horses.
Show jumper Ben Maher has revealed exclusively to H&H that Rolette has been sold abroad for an unspecified sum
Ben Maher's former top show jumper will be ridden by Ireland's Shane Sweetnam at Spy Coast Farm when she arrives
“Initially, it seemed like a part of the industry that was sort of left on the table – that it was an untapped resource,” she said. “I never like to see waste, and I knew that some of the best mares in the world were not being used to their best advantage, so I saw an opportunity to just jump into the breeding industry.”
“Rolette is still alive and kicking at 22 years old. She has been retired from breeding but enjoys her life out with the ‘Golden Girls’.”
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.