Championship title for working rider told she ‘may never ride again’ and her ‘horse of a lifetime’ *H&H Plus*

  • Find out more about Chantelle Duggan, who was told a year ago that it was possible she may never ride again, and why she chose to keep her quirky but talented talent seekers final winner...

    A working rider, who was told she may never ride again 12 months ago, and her quirky “horse of a lifetime” were crowned talent seekers champions in an electric jump-off at the British Showjumping Indoor Championship Finals at Aintree International Equestrian Centre on Friday night (9 October).

    Chantelle Duggan and Linton De La Chapelle were the penultimate combination to go in the jump-off, with Charlie Dawson and seven-year-old Iloma holding the lead.

    Linton De La Chapelle has his own trademark style, kicking out with a hind-leg before and during their round, but it did not slow them down. The seven-year-old dark bay gelding was as quick through the air as he was covering the ground and the pair landed over the final fence in a time of 41.13 — 0.43 seconds ahead of runners up Charlie and Iloma. Third place went to Iwan Carpenter and Merllyns Chacco B in a time of 42.52 seconds.

    Their victory was made even more special owing to the fact that Chantelle broke her neck in two places just over a year ago in a freak accident while getting on a young horse, which required plating and pinning.

    “He is a massive character,” beamed Chantelle, who works full-time for NFU Mutual and had come to Aintree on her own after spending the morning at work.

    “He is better the more you dare him — if you try to jump a clear, he would probably have a fence. If you try to win, he pulls it out the bag.”

    She added he is very easy to look after at home, with his routine mainly involving hacking and flatwork as they save the jumping for shows, and he is one of the most naturally talented horses she has ever ridden.

    “Everything has always been so easy for him, right from when he was a four-year-old, he doesn’t really have to try,” said Chantelle, who bought him as a youngster from breeder Scott Smith in France.

    “He was quite defiant as a young horse and he came on so much as a six-year-old and has got better and better.

    “We stuck with him because we knew how good he could be and we knew how much jump he had. I have never ridden something where you come down to a 1.45m square oxer and it doesn’t even feel like they have left the floor. That is what made us keep going with him — we knew there was a grand prix horse in there.”

    Chantelle added owing to her accident (“12 months ago I was told I may never ride again”) and lockdown, he has missed around 10 months of jumping in the last year and this was only the second time he had jumped indoors since February.

    Even with the time out, the French-bred seven-year-old, by L’Arc De Triomphe, has been incredibly consistent this year, with majors victories including the Grade C final and the seven-year-old title at the Bolesworth Young Horse Championships, and winnings totalling around £2,500.

    “I love him, he’s like my pet,” she laughed, adding he was the first horse he got back on after her accident. “He is the only horse I have to jump big classes on. [As well as my day job,] I also produce young horses to sell and he is the first one we have said we will keep.

    “He will be a proper grand prix horse and I would like to think that he will go and jump four- and five-stars.”

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