Adam Botham and the ‘fantastic’ young stallion Ebanking topped one of the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show’s hottest classes with their classy win in the Al Shira’aa CSIYH* seven-year-old 1.30m (9 July).
A high-quality field came forward to tackle Louis Konickx’s imposing track in Bolesworth’s atmospheric international arena. It is testament to the standard of the young horses that just under 60% of the 46 starter jumped clear in this single-phase speed class.
Ebanking (Etoulon x VDL Sheraton), owned by Barbara Hester, combines his competition career with stud duties, and showed his impeccable manners by waiting patiently for the prize giving in the buzzy atmosphere of Bolesworth’s collecting ring.
Adam said the stallion gets his brain from Indoctro breeding on his damside (VDL Sheraton’s sire).
“He has a fantastic brain. He always has his game face on,” he said. “He has an enormous stride and that’s how he won today. He came out of the ring, not sweating, not blowing. He doesn’t know he’s had to jump off round, because he just takes one less stride everywhere without knowing – he’s fantastic.”
Ebanking has foals on the floor this year and more progeny due in 2022.
“He still knows his job – he’s a boy in the collecting ring, he’s a boy in the stable, then the minute he walks into the ring, it’s game face on.”
He added: “I walked the course and my plan was for every distance – straight away from fences one to two – was to do one less stride in every single distance, and he and he executed that like he always does.”
Barbara acquired the stallion just over a year ago.
“We thought he was quite special, but he’s proved even more special than we thought he was at the beginning, which is incredibly exciting,” she said.
“His technique is just flawless. He would be a perfect example of how a horse should jump, with his nose being the lowest point and his knees up. He just bascules every single fence.”
Adam added it was the horse’s consistency and his brain that appealed to them.
“In this modern sport, they have to be unbelievably careful and they have to be rideable, and he had a great brain,” he said.
“He was always for sale before we bought him, but I think people overlooked him because he’s always been very easy – he jumps the height of the jump, so he never really shows you what he has.
“I knew him, because we bought him off some friends of mine [the Saywells]. I knew that he’d gone to Spain and through the six weeks he was there, he jumped three classes a weekend and he didn’t have one fault. As a five-year-old, he did the same thing. But people overlooked him and didn’t think he was good enough because he doesn’t actually go airborne and flash. He just does what he needs to do.”
Adam said the plan for what to aim for keeps changing as the horse “keeps improving”.
“We are very excited about him,” he said.
The pair were at Bolesworth fresh from their win in the seven-year-old final at Hickstead (23-27 June). In the short term, a win in Saturday’s seven-year-old class at Bolesworth is in their sights, with longer-term goals of the Foxhunter final and World Breeding Championships.
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