‘She looked like a Welsh mountain pony’: 18-year-old broodmare makes winning international comeback

  • At the recent CSI2* at Kelsall Hall EC in Cheshire, showjumper Ronnie Lee Jones maintained his prolific winning ways, but this time with a pair of broodmares, both of whom returned to the competition ring as they were otherwise standing in doing nothing over the winter.

    The Essex rider had bought 18-year-old mare Areeb OL and 15-year-old Abeer II OL from Old Lodge Stud, owned by the late Prince Torki.

    “We bought them as broodmares to breed from, in November,” explained Ronnie. “They’ve not jumped in the ring for years, we got them straight out the field, manes and tails to the floor – you’d never think they were the same horses, they looked like Welsh mountain ponies.

    “While the weather was bad they were stood in, so we thought we may as well play around with them before March, when we start the reproduction side of things,” he added. “They are both fantastic and very sound.”

    Former King George V Gold Cup contender

    Between them, Areeb OL and Abeer II OL claimed a hat-trick of bronze classes at Kelsall Hill’s inaugural international show with Ronnie in the saddle, including the Synovium Horse Health & Incrediwear UK CSI* 1.20m final.

    Areeb OL (Cornet Obolensky x Spartan) was hugely successful for long-time partner Nicole Pavitt and later Mark Armstrong, jumping at Horse of the Year Show and the King George V Gold Cup at the Royal International Horse Show. Areeb’s daughter Troo Contest, by former Old Lodge stallion Super Trooper De Ness jumped up to 1.40m with Sian Edwards.

    Abeer II OL (Berlin x Cardino) was ridden by Steven Franks, then Louise Whitaker, and had been out of the ring since 2017.

    Ronnie Lee Jones: “She goes in a little snaffle with no martingale“

    “Areeb used to jump 1.60m and is very hot – you have to be quiet with her and we don’t ride her much at home, we lead her through the forest off the other one, but she’s very fast.

    “Abeer is so lovely, like an old pro, she goes in a little snaffle with no martingale and is usually ridden by my partner, Alex, but I prised her away for this show!“

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