Polly Bryan talks to Carl Hester about his latest British team prospect, the talented 11-year-old En Vogue, who is “the most incredible showman” despite being a worrier under saddle
En Vogue fact file
Breeding: Jazz x Contango
Owner: Charlotte Dujardin
Rider: Carl Hester
Breeder: Adriaan Van de Goor
Greatest achievements: reserve national champion at prix st georges and inter I 2017 (ridden by Charlotte Dujardin); grand prix fourth with 76.5% on international debut at Keysoe CDI3* 2020; grand prix special third with 78.42% at Keysoe CDI3* 2020.
Rider Carl Hester on En Vogue
“I’ve always loved Vogue and Charlotte Dujardin very kindly gave me the ride on him. He is just incredible to ride. He is a proper international horse, and one who has so much eagerness to please all the time. It means that you never feel disappointed even if you make a mistake, because it’s all really just a question of fine-tuning.
“It was very interesting to take him to Keysoe CDI3*; our grand prix on the first day was a bit on edge, although I still had a great ride, but a day later in the special he really came up with the goods – and was even more special. I came home on a real high after that.
“I still don’t know him well in a test situation, and Vogue is a horse who needs time and patience and more outings. He is a worrier to ride – you can feel his heart going all the time and he runs on such high energy – but his talent is not in question and his brain is not in question; he just needs to find more confidence.”
Groom Alan Davies on En Vogue
“Vogue is a tiny little person in a great big body. He is a terrible worrier, and doesn’t like to think he’s done anything wrong, but he is a sweetheart, too. When you are on the ground with him he is not the most confident, but the change is amazing when you get him into the arena, where he can be the most incredible showman.
“At home, he isn’t like most of the others – Charlotte Dujardin’s Mount St John Freestyle, for example, who always has her head over her stable door wanting to know what everybody’s doing; Vogue is more shy and retiring, and would rather just peek out of his stable and do his own thing.
“He lives out at night with two younger horses, and it’s great for his physique and for his brain, too – he loves being a bit feral. He comes in each morning and likes to have a snooze before he begins work. He is a little like [Carl’s Rio silver medallist] Nip Tuck in that respect – they are quite different horses but Nip Tuck is very tall like Vogue, and he also benefited from living out during much of his career.
“Lucy Scudamore has cared for him since he was a baby and the two of them have a great rapport and get on famously well. Vogue’s character is also one reason why Carl gets on so well riding him – he quite likes the more complex ones.”
Judge Clive Halsall’s thoughts about En Vogue
“Vogue is a really stunning horse. I judged him in the grand prix at Keysoe CDI3* in October, which was the first time I’d seen him perform. It was his international debut and what a debut it was – he was so impressive in the arena. He looked amazing and was a credit to Carl, Charlotte, Alan and their whole team.
“It took him a couple of movements to settle into the test and there were some mistakes – he had a lot of enthusiasm for the job, and slightly too much in parts, such as the walk and the rein-back. But once he was able to channel that enthusiasm into the half-passes and the piaffe and pirouettes, some of the work he produced was just breathtaking.
“No wonder Carl was smiling when he came out of the ring – the future looks very bright with this one, and I suspect the British team selectors would have been smiling, too.”
Ref Horse & Hound; 12 November 2020
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