‘It’s incredible’: meet the top showjumper who sleeps 20 hours a day and loves bananas

  • One of the equine stars shining in Milan at the European Showjumping Championships is the Spanish horse who spends 20 hours a day asleep – but is always happy to wake for a banana.

    Manuel Fernandez Saro and Jarlin De Torres, who are both Spanish-bred, from Andalusia, tipped just one pole today to sit in 32nd place individually. Their score also contributes to Spain’s eighth place as they try to secure qualification to next year’s Paris Olympics.

    Manuel said he took on the Jarnac gelding five years ago, for his owner/breeder Richard Golding.

    “He’s from the same area as me, Andalusia, which was actually quite nice,” he said. “We’ve gone together all the way up; he did his first championship in Riesenbeck [in 2021], and then last year, he went to Herning, and now here.”

    Manuel said the 12-year-old is different to ride from the way he might appear.

    “He looks slow and like he’s no blood and it’s the other way round,” he said. “He’s a lot of blood and power, and he’s sensitive.

    “In the stables and lorry and to handle, he’s fantastic, but I’ve never had a horse like it. He spends 20 hours lying down, every day. That’s winter or summer, at home or a show, 20 hours minimum lying down. But if you come with a banana, he doesn’t have to see it, he can smell it from 20 metres, then he’s happy.”

    Jarlin De Torres enjoys the peel as much as the fruit, Manuel added, and he made sure a stock of bananas came with them to Milan.

    “He has them every day; [his owner] Richard brings them,” he said. “He’s well known for that in our team.”

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