The horse who carried Carl Hester to his first ever championship medal has died. The Lorentin I gelding Liebling II, known as Lenny, died last week aged 21.

Over the course of his career, Lenny competed at international grand prix with five different riders, having been trained to the top level by Britain’s Anna Ross.

“Sad to say we lost the lovely Liebling aka Lenny last week,” said Carl, who won team silver for Britain with Lenny at the 2009 Windsor European Championships. “So privileged to win my first medal on him; a wonderful character who carried more riders round internationals than I know.”

Lenny’s first championship was the 2007 Europeans at La Mandria in Italy, where he and Anna were called up as British reserves to compete at the last minute, and finished 10th in the grand prix freestyle.

“It was a crazy fairy story really,” remembers Anna, who rode Lenny from when he was a four-year-old, until he was 11.

“He was an amazing horse, but he was extremely naughty and very difficult to ride — I think I spent more time running after him than actually riding him!

 

Anna Ross-Davies Ross Davies with Liebling , at home, head shot

“He was the most loving, friendly horse in the stable — a horse you could develop a real bond with — but when he was young he was very hot, and just did a bit of what he liked all the time,” she told H&H.

“He taught me a lot about resilience, about not giving up, and not being embarrassed. In the end it all came good, but only really when he reached grand prix — that was the only thing that shut him up!

“I absolutely adored him — he was the first horse I trained right from the beginning up to that level, and we were both learning together. He was such a cool horse, and was so loved all his life.”

Carl took over the ride from Anna in 2008, winning European silver the following year. He also won team silver on him at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, following several months during which the horse was competed by Canada’s Cheryl Meisner.

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In 2011 the ride on Lenny passed to the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, who targeted the London 2012 Olympics, but did not qualify. Lenny’s final international partner was Jonna Schelstraete of the Netherlands, who took over the ride in 2013 for one season.

He returned to Carl’s Gloucestershire yard to retire in 2014, aged 17.

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