Young horse world champion sold to up-and-coming eventer with Paris 2024 ambitions

  • Young horse world champion Cute Girl has been sold to the US with the hope of making an up-and-coming rider’s Olympic dream a reality at Paris 2024.

    The Holsteiner mare (Coventry x Clearway), who topped the seven-year-old CC3*-L WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships for young horses at Le Lion in 2021 with Australia’s Kevin McNab, joins Hallie Coon’s string.

    “We were thinking that Cute Girl would be a great horse for us to aim at Paris, but unfortunately, part of what we have to do in this sport is sell on some good horses”, said Kevin, who will work with Hallie to help her get to know her new ride over the coming weeks.

    “Now, hopefully we’ll still get to see her go on to Paris. It’s great to see her go to Hallie and we’re looking forward to following them in the future – we wish her all the best and all the success we’ve enjoyed, too.”

    Cute Girl, pictured with Kevin McNab. Credit: Tilly Berendt.

    Cute Girl was sourced as a young horse by Francesca Pollara, and produced by Kevin for owners Scuderia 1918. She was ridden in competition by both Kevin and Isabel English, and her career highlights also include third at the British Eventing CCI3*-L seven-year-old championships at Osberton in October 2021. The eight-year-old mare has a host of national wins to her name and has finished on her dressage score on four of her eight international starts.

    “Getting to ride such a well-produced and established horse is an unbelievable opportunity,” said Hallie, 26.

    “To take on a ride of Kevin’s is particularly special, because I’m a huge fan of his style of riding and production; he rides incredibly lightly and brings his horses along to enjoy their work, which was the quality that made me fall in love with Cute Girl from the moment I sat on her.

    “She’s very much her own person, and she’s been given the room to express her opinions – and now, she’s a world-class competitor who’s hungry to find her way to the other side of the flags.”

    Journalist Tilly Berendt acted as agent for the sale to Hallie, who has represented the US on Nations Cup teams and competed to five-star. Hallie’s aim is to syndicate the mare, with a small number of “traditional” syndicate shares available, and one share split into “micro-syndicate” packages for an affordable option to become involved in the sport.

    “She’s got everything you dream of finding in a horse that will go all the way, and for someone who’s dreamed of representing the USA on the world stage my whole life, riding her makes it all feel tangible,” Hallie added.

    “I’m incredibly excited about the whole situation and feeling so lucky to have even had the chance. I can’t believe I have the opportunity to do this with such an unbelievable horse who has so much to her name already, and not only is it very exciting, but it’s quite a bit of pressure as well – in a good way!”

    The micro-syndicate shares will be available at a low-cost annual rate, with some offered free to give eventing fans from low-income and marginalised backgrounds the opportunity to get involved.

    “I think it’s really easy for us all to get caught up in the enormous amount of day-to-day work that comes with producing a string of horses and running a business, and then this disconnect can happen where we don’t see the barriers to entry as easily purely because we have such an enormous degree of separation from them,” said Hallie.

    “The idea that we all had to work to get where we are and that that path is open to everyone comes from a good place a lot of the time, but it’s not cognisant of the many very real barriers that people from marginalised communities may face. The syndicate offers owners the chance to join an incredibly exciting journey as it happens, but I wanted to give people who might not have the same resources the chance to join in as well and enjoy being an important part of the story.

    “My hope is that this creates a friendly community of people bonded by their love of horses and the sport, allowing for a gateway inward for anyone who wants to take steps up the ladder and take a more active role in the sport.”

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