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Shear L’Eau: the ‘mischievous’ Olympic champion who dug deep when it mattered

The consistent grey with a sense of occasion – and a sense of humour – gave Leslie Law Britain’s first individual eventing gold medal in 32 years at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games

WHEN Jeremy Lawton, founder of Shearwater Insurance, came back from Goresbridge sales with six horses, his wife Susan asked: “What are you doing?”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he recalls replying.

He acquired a horse by Blue Laser, who showjumper Roddy Dean thought would make a better eventer. Jeremy made a list of potential riders, and his pen landed on Leslie Law.

That horse wasn’t suitable and they changed him – buying Shear H20, or Solo, who went on to help Britain to Olympic silver in Sydney 2000.

“When I heard of his full brother being available in Ireland, I said to Leslie, ‘Right, we’re on the next plane, let’s go,’” says Jeremy.

Shear L’Eau, or Stan, was finer than his older brother, but many couldn’t tell the pair apart. Jeremy bought him there and then.

“He was a beautiful type, a picture of an Irish event horse,” says Leslie.

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Read more stories from H&H’s Legends of the Sport series…