We miss watching our favourite horses during the Covid-19 lockdown, so we’re finding out more about some of the equine stars we can’t wait to see once competition returns. To kick off, Pippa Roome profiles this consistent Australian team eventer
Vassily De Lassos
Breeding: Jaguar Mail x Jalienny X
Owners: David and Paula Evans
Rider: Andrew Hoy
Breeder: Jerome Berges, Jean-Louis Beth and Sonia Eyraud
Greatest achievements: eighth Blenheim eight- and nine-year-old CCI4*-S 2017; fourth Tattersalls CCI4*-L 2018; fourth Aachen CCIO4*-L 2018; fourth Tryon World Equestrian Games 2018; fifth Luhmühlen CCI4*-S 2019; fifth Aachen CCIO4*-S 2019; second Strzegom CCI4*-L 2019 (all class names updated to current format).
Rider Andrew Hoy
“When I tried Vassily in France when he was with Tom Carlile, he didn’t give me an exceptional feeling, but I liked his results sheet so much I decided to get him vetted. Now that I have spent time working with him, he gives me more of a wow feeling and I smile inwardly every time I sit on him.
“Vassily is exceptional at finishing on his dressage score, so if we can get his first phase stronger, he’ll be further up the line. He’s never going to trot like Totilas, but there’s definitely a big improvement in his way of going as we work with Gareth Hughes and Ton de Ridder.
“At the World Equestrian Games in 2018, not many people knew Vassily because I hadn’t competed him much in the UK.
“When he ran round the cross-country so comfortably early on, people thought the course was absolutely fine. But some later combinations found challenges that his round didn’t show.”
Andrew Hoy’s head competition groom Katie Dutton
“Vassily is just a lovely horse. He’s not picky, he’s kind to deal with and just a very happy horse. He loves attention at a competition, whether that’s me sitting by his stable eating breakfast or taking him out hand walking or for grass, his favourite activity.
“He’s very much at home when he has my undivided attention and knows you are there for his needs, but he also likes to have his own space if he’s having a rest.
“I get very nervous at a competition, particularly if a horse is in a nice position going into the showjumping. You just want them to go out there and pull off a good result. But Vassily is Mr Consistent and makes me proud every time I take him somewhere.”
Owner Paula Evans
“I met Andrew when I did a Wobbleberry Challenge clinic at his yard in 2017. My horse bucked and I fell off and shattered my collarbone. It wasn’t Andrew’s fault, but he and his wife Steffi were so nice it was unreal, sending flowers and phoning afterwards.
“My husband David and I wanted to get into owning an event horse and Andrew already had Vassily on his radar. There was quite a difference between his price and our budget, but while we were on holiday, we phoned Andrew to say we’d buy him outright.
“Vassily makes cross-country look so easy; he was born to do it. At Aachen 2018, I was in tears when he finished. I’m so proud of the combination, of the horse looking after Andrew and the emotion runs away with you. I can’t explain it, it’s like seeing your own baby for the first time.”
Ref Horse & Hound; 23 April 2020