Tales from Bolesworth: Ben Maher on Tokyo hopes and his next generation of horses destined for the top *H&H Plus*

  • London 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Ben Maher showcased one of the most exciting young horses in his string at the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show (7-11 July).

    The top British rider, who heads to the Tokyo Olympics aboard the phenomenal Explosion W as part of the British Olympic showjumping team this month, was enjoying one of his final shows before he heads into pre-departure quarantine.

    This week Ben was riding the exciting seven-year-old Point Break, owned by Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright, in Bolesworth’s CSIYH*.

    The Action-Breaker x Balou Du Rouet stallion is undoubtedly one to watch in the future. Bolesworth was the fourth international show for this high flyer, and his first international on British soil. He excelled all week, with a full-house of clear rounds and went home with two eighth place rosettes and a third in Sunday’s top quality seven-year-old final.

    “Point Break is a great horse, he’s very exciting,” Ben told commentator Gareth Jenkins in an interview in Bolesworth’s international arena.

    “We’ve had him since the end of last year and I thought we’d bring him to Bolesworth to experience the big show venue and all the horses and ponies – he is a stallion, so he has to get used to all of these things. He jumped great today, I was very happy with him.”

    Ben was at Bolesworth following a glittering few weeks of top-flight success with his other rides. He won the CSI5* Global Champions Tour Paris grand prix on Ginger-Blue at the end of June, followed by victory in the Royal Windsor grand prix on Explosion W.

    “I don’t have so many horses right now, but the ones that I do have, I’m very spoiled with,” said Ben,

    “Ginger-Blue is a horse that we’ve had since she was seven years old. A little bit like with Point Break today, we went very slowly behind the scenes.

    “She has been improving and doing very well, but Paris was a little bit unexpected. It was a great weekend.”

    Ben praised Bolesworth director Nina Barbour for the “incredible job”, adding the show is improving all the time.

    “We don’t get many opportunities to ride in England anymore, so these shows are very important and to have a home crowd is always great,” he said.

    All eyes on Tokyo

    The Olympic showjumping horses go into quarantine on Friday (16 July), ahead of travelling to Liège in Belgium for their flight to Japan on 26 July.

    “The next two weeks will be all about preparation and Explosion and coming together as a team to get ready to travel,” he said.

    “It’s hard when there’s expectations. There were probably not many expectations in London and the team managed to come through.”

    He added that individually, all those on the squad have had big successes recently.

    “I think it’s just about coming together, doing what we normally do every weekend and trying to get it right on the right weekend. It is a different format this time, so the individual [medals are decided ] first, and then the team. I think we have a good chance but I’m not going to put odds on that!”

    Reflecting on the character of his Tokyo Olympic ride, Ben added: “Explosion is a lot bigger than everyone thinks he is. He is very friendly – he’s like a pet, you could put your dogs, your kids, everything with him, and he just wants to eat treats. He is very spoiled.

    “But then when you get him ready and he has to go to work, he becomes very sharp and sensitive, which I think is what makes him good.

    “I can’t get on without a stepladder and feeding him. Probably the hardest part is to get on him. Once I’m on he’s very spatially aware and he won’t let anybody hand me anything, I can’t take my jacket [on or] off, so if it’s raining. I’m getting wet! But that’s what makes him special. Honestly, I’m very fortunate to have had many great horses in my career, but he really is something else.”


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