‘These heavies need to do more’: 18.3hh Clydesdale shows talent for cross-country

A Clydesdale stallion owner has set out to prove that Suffolks aren’t the only heavies who can tackle a course of solid fences.

Lauren Champion, owner of 18.3hh Clydesdale Hector, was inspired after reading H&H’s story about Suffolk stallion Jensen and his owner Bruce Langley-McKim, who recently completed a one-day event at Burghley.

“After seeing your article, I decided to take my Clydesdale cross-country schooling with Richard Lucas, organised by my local riding club,” she said. “He did exceptionally well and everyone loved him.”

Lauren more usually jumps her 17.2hh Irish mare, but had to find a new ride after it was discovered she was in foal.

“It gave me the chance to ride Hector more — I have taken him hunting but we usually go past the jumps,” Lauren said. “I had never jumped him before I took him cross-country schooling, but Richard had put up a new beginner’s course which was a few logs on the floor, so I thought we could give that a go.

“Richard being Richard kept going with it though and he had us jumping fences the normal ponies would. Hector jumped everything put him front of him.”

Despite his inexperience, the eight-year-old, who is used as a breeding stallion, was happy to tackle steps up and down, natural obstacles and ditches.

“He was a bit reluctant to go in the water but when he finally did, he launched right into the middle,” Lauren said. “I think everyone was expecting me to fall off but I made sure I stayed on — otherwise my air jacket would have gone off and that would be £20 down the drain!”

Lauren said she now hoped to try more jumping with Hector, and wants to enter a pairs so she can use another horse to give him confidence cross-country.

“The hunting season is coming up so I will use him to do that, only this time I might take him over the jumps rather than round them,” she said.

“He is a good lad and these heavies need to get out there and do more. Some people think you can just hack them, but they can do whatever you want them to do.

“Clydesdales are quite versatile and Hector is no kickalong — one squeeze and you’re off,” she added.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.