From £8,000 ‘gangly’ youngster to puissance horse with Derby ambitions

  • A horse who was bought as a “gangly” five-year-old with the plan to sell him on has done his owners and rider proud in puissances – and may soon be seen in the Hickstead Derby.

    Sebastian Hughes bought Colorado Volo six years ago with Caroline McGann and Danni Auburn-Yildirin, for £8,000. Since then this “one man and his horse” team have come third in the London International Horse Show puissance, and sixth at Royal Windsor last week.

    “Seb has produced him on his own while trying to run a yard single-handed,” proud owner Caroline told H&H. “He is an amazing rider and so kind to his horses.”

    Sebastian told H&H the plan had been to sell “Chief” after a few months.

    “But he always felt like there was a bit more to come,” he said. “The plan this year is some Area Trials, and if it all goes well, have a crack at the Derby. The Derby rather than the speed Derby as we’re not that quick but he’s so brave and so scopey. Just to have a horse that would be able to do it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so if we can have a go, we will.”

    The combination jumped their first 1.50m Area Trial for four faults a fortnight before Windsor.

    Caroline told H&H Chief suffers from hay fever and it is thought the pollen made him head-shake slightly, so he did not get to the final round.

    “I was standing in the arena watching him and it was so nice to see him among the big boys,” she said. “I don’t know if I’d be able to watch him in the Derby! But it will be such an achievement, especially for an £8,000 horse.

    “Seb’s been amazing and so kind to that horse, and that’s what I value more than anything. He’s really given him confidence.”

    Seb said his first puissance was at Arena UK last September, in which they cleared 1.95m. Encouraged by friends, he contacted the LIHS team to ask about jumping the big red wall there.

    “They said thank you but the quota was full, then the weekend before the show, they said they’d accept me so it was a mad rush!” he said. “But we had a wonderful experience.

    “I was so nervous, just wanted to get the first round out of the way and not have the silly first fence down. Once it finished, I really enjoyed it!”

    Seb said that had someone said, six years ago, that this “goofy but sensitive” gelding would do what he has done, “I wouldn’t have believed them”.

    “And if I can go through the start and finish in the Derby, that’s all I can ask for,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for any more.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...