‘He just never stopped improving’: Team GB Olympic showjumper is sold

  • British showjumper Holly Smith’s Olympic partner Denver, owned by Ian Dowie, has been sold to French rider Sadri Fegaier.

    Holly told H&H that the phone had been “red-hot” since their remarkable performance at the CSI5* World Cup show in Lyon, France, last month where she and Denver were placed in all three feature classes.

    “[Selling horses] is part of my job – it always has been and for the foreseeable future always will be,” said Holly. “Ian Dowie and I always had Denver with the plan to produce him to sell on, but he just never stopped improving.

    “At the end of the day, though, he’s 13 years old and we had a fantastic show at Lyon. Before we’d even got over how well he went there, the phone was red-hot!”

    The 13-year-old gelding (Albfuehren’s Memphis x Chico’s Boy) was bred in the Netherlands by Anton Woertmann and started off eventing with Constance Copestake up to CCI4-S* level. Holly took the reins two years ago on the recommendation of British showjumping chef d’equipe Di Lampard, who had been training his former rider.

    Holly and Denver went on to represent Great Britain on Nations Cup teams, including at this year’s final in Barcelona, and at the Tokyo Olympics.

    “He was 11 when I got him, but he won his first ranking class within weeks and won about quarter of a million pounds in prize money in two years,” said Holly. “When you think that most of that time was during Covid, it could have been even more. 

    “Among my proudest moments were winning a three-star grand prix in Spain, plus our Nations Cup appearances, but winning the Challenge Cup in Barcelona was a real high point. Then the whole show in Lyon, where he finished second in the grand prix, third in the Masters and fourth in the World Cup, was fantastic.”

    His new rider is French showjumper Sadri Fegaier, who owns the Hubside jumping venues in Saint Tropez and Valence, and competes other big-name showjumpers including Chianti’s Champion, Important De Muze and Cadeau De Muze. 

    “Sadri tried him after Lyon – I wasn’t there for the trial, but they seemed to click straight away and have gone really well at their first show, jumping double clear in the two-star at Valence at the weekend,” said Holly. “I’ve sold a few horses now and they’ve always gone on with their next rider, so it’s a good feeling and it makes me very proud to see that.”

    Holly has some lovely younger horses in her string, but now finds herself without a current top-level horse, especially as Denver’s sale comes on the back of losing her superstar Hearts Destiny last year.

    “I’ve just broken into the top 50 in the world, so it would be great if someone came along to help to keep me up there – I’m always open to suggestions for new rides!” she said.

    You may also be interested to read…

    You may like...