‘What he achieved in his short life was extraordinary’: farewell to ‘golden superstar’

  • The prolific Welsh section B Laithehill Flute, who reigned in both the show ring and in the dressage arena, has been put down aged 12 after undergoing surgery to treat a bone infection.

    Laithehill Flute began his career under saddle with Chloe Chubb, who rode him to many victories as a novice, also qualifying him for the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).

    In 2016, Flute won the inaugural mountain and moorland( M&M) junior ridden championship at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) with Kinvara Garner at the helm.

    Flute was sold to Emma Hewson and her daughter, Kate, at the end of 2016.

    “I first saw him in the summer of 2016,” said Emma. “We were stabled next to Chloe, her mum Lesley and Flute. I remember being blown away by him when I first saw him. He was the pony of our dreams. We got talking to Chloe and we bought Flute at the end of 2016 when Kate had outgrown her Dartmoor pony.”

    In their debut season together [2017], Kate and Flute contested first ridden classes, qualifying for the RIHS and standing mini champions at Royal Bath and West. They also began their dressage career, qualifying for the prelim final at the winter dressage championships.

    “While Flute was an out and out junior pony — he was always so bright and forward — Kate was so tiny that they began in first ridden classes,” said Emma. “The following year they stepped up to junior classes. While they did really well, winning Royal Bath and West, qualifying for the RIHS and lifting the supreme at The Showing Register summer show, Flute sustained an injury in the collecting ring at New Forest and Hampshire County show, so he was out for the rest of the season. This ended our 2018 campaign, but he came back out the following year as good as ever.”

    In 2019, Kate and Flute qualified for both HOYS and the RIHS on their first attempt. Between the white boards, they won the British Dressage (BD) inter-regional championships, represented England on the BD youth home international team at novice level and won the BD novice native championship. They also placed at the RIHS and finished fourth at HOYS.

    “The HOYS placing was the icing on the cake,” said Emma. “During the pandemic, Kate started jumping Flute at home. They also started working on their movements at home to step up to elementary level. Whatever we asked of Flute, he did it. He even took a side-saddle; at the National Side Saddle Association championships he won combined jumping and dressage titles, before Kate rode him to be reserve open junior rider of the year.”

    2021 was Kate and Flute’s last season together and their swansong outing was at the BD native championships, where they won the silver elementary title.

    “He was offered a home abroad but when it came down to it we couldn’t let him go,” said Emma. “We found him the most incredible lease home in the Britton family. They adored him as much as we did, and his little jockey, Elizabeth, was forming the most fantastic partnership with him.

    “Flute was a super talented pony who loved a party. He always knew when he’d won and he’d stand proudly out front with a sash on before enjoying his lap of honour. We called him our golden superstar and we were very lucky to have him. What he achieved in his short life was quite extraordinary.”

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