An extraordinary grey, a ‘tiny’ horse with no-nail shoes and a win ‘you can only dream of’

  • What a week of showjumping news! We were treated to a feast of international showjumping on our doorstep at one of our favourite events, Royal Windsor Horse Show this weekend. Some of the leading riders in the world going into battle made for exceptional sport and you can’t help but fall in love with the gallant grey Rolex grand prix winner Leone Jei – he and Martin Fuchs are simply in a different league.

    British showjumper Jodie Hall McAteer may have been competing on the other side of the world, but she made international showjumping news headlines with a five-star win in Shanghai, while we also investigated a “tiny” horse, who “thinks he’s 17.2hh” wearing an unusual set of no-nail shoes.

    Read on for this week’s round-up of international showjumping news and results.

    Showjumping news: “We had to risk it all”

    Swiss sensation Martin Fuchs has built an incredible partnership with the gallant grey Leone Jei, but he took a chance taking just the one horse for the CSI5* classes at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show. His faith in the 12-year-old’s exceptional talent was rewarded when he took home the Rolex grand prix – the second consecutive year that the Swiss rider has secured the €125,000 (£106,990) first prize here.

    “I knew after I walked the course that the jump-off would suit us very well and if I do a good job, then normally he’s going to jump two clear rounds,” said Martin, who piloted one of his other phenomenal horses, Connor Jei, to win in 2023.

    “I knew that I had to risk everything, having some of the fastest riders in the world coming after me. If I do the same amount of strides as the others I can be a bit slower but his energy and ability enables me to leave out strides where other horses aren’t able to.”

    Both Gregory Wathelet (Bond Jamesbond De Hay) and Steve Guerdat, with his recent Fontainebleau winner Dynamix de Belheme came close, lodging 41.75sec and 41.86 sec respectively for second and third place, with Robert Whitaker best of the Brits on his King George winner Vermento in fourth.

    Showjumping news: Gilles Thomas wins the LGCT of Shanghai

    Gilles Thomas of Belgium celebrates winning the LGCT of Shanghai grand prix riding Luna Van Het Dennehof. H&H recommends always wearing a hat.

    LGCT of Shanghai: “You can only dream of this!”

    In China, the Longines Global Champions Tour of Shanghai went to Belgium rider Gilles Thomas with Luna Van Het Dennehof, with the pair celebrating in epic style (pictured, above). From first draw in a seven-way jump-off, the speedy pair proved unassailable, finishing well clear of the only other double clear from Edwina Tops-Alexander with Fellow Castlefield. Miami winner Michael Duffy of Ireland set the fastest time with the 10-year-old Cantano 32 but the last fence agonisingly hit the floor for third.

    “I only have dreamed of this moment and now twice on the podium – one second and now my first LGCT Grand Prix win, twice on Luna – she is just such a fantastic mare,” said Gilles.

    Edwina also heaped praise on the 25-year-old winner, “I think the world of Gilles, he is the best young rider and up and coming rider in the world today,” she said.

    “He has so much talent, he is super cool in the head, he is such a team player and I think he has a massive future and this has just boosted it even more.”

    Jodie Hall McAteer finished win four faults in round one on Hardessa in the grand prix, but had earlier sealed victory in the two-phase with 14-year-old mare Kimosa Van Het Kritrahof.

    Laura Kraut makes showjumping news headlines with Calgary Tame

    Laura Kraut (USA) and Calgary Tame win the CSI5* Manama Rose Show Stakes at RWHS. The “tiny” gelding “who thinks he’s 17.2hh” wears glue-on aluminium front shoes.

    “The horse didn’t love the nails”

    In Sunday’s 1.50m Manama Rose Show Stakes at Royal Windsor, Laura Kraut took a well-earned victory with Calgary Tame, who was previously competed barefoot, but now sports ultra lightweight glue-on rubber-coated aluminium front shoes.

    “He is so cool, he thinks he’s 17.2hh, but he’s tiny,” said Laura, who took over the ride on the 161cm (15.3hh) Selle Français, who is co-owned by his breeder Eugenie Angot and the Stars and Stripes syndicate, from flying Frenchman Julien Epaillard in 2021.

    “When Julien had him before me, he had no shoes, because that’s what Julien does – but I just didn’t like the feeling of it. I always got the impression that the horse didn’t love the nails, so these shoes are rubber coated and they glue on.

    “With these shoes he feels great, he’s been really happy with them. I also have Confu in them, as well as a couple of my other horses, and they seem to really like it.

    “Knock on wood, they seem to stay on much better than shoes with nails and I have never had one come off! They are also much lighter. We have got to do something [when classes are so close] and every little bit helps!”

    The same type of shoes were used by racehorse trainer Charlie Appleby on his Qipco Guineas Festival runner Castle Way at Newmarket on Friday.

    Kent Farrington and Landon scorch to victory.

    Kent Farrington and Landon scorch to victory at Royal Windsor.

    Showjumping news: a remarkable hat-trick for one of the fastest riders in the world

    Finally in this week’s international showjumping news round-up, we return to Royal Windsor Horse Show, where speedy US rider Kent Farrington claimed the King’s Cup for a third time when he headed the Saturday’s Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes.

    “I always loved coming to this show, it’s a great crowd, great atmosphere, top course designers, top competition and Rolex grand prix money!” he said.
    “It was a fast class as it always is here. It was great fun. As first to go I just stuck with my plan for my horse and it worked out in my favour that some other fast rounds had a rail down.”

    It was Brit Joe Stockdale who had almost denied Kent a hat-trick when he jumped an inspiring round 2.66sec up on the clock with Barbara Hester and Laura Stockdale’s talented 10-year-old stallion Ebanking – only to lower the final fence with the lightest of touches.

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