All you need to know about Bolesworth grand prix victor Aragon Z *H&H Plus*

  • The recent Bolesworth grand prix victor has come of age for rider Jay Halim. Jennifer Donald meets this “Jekyll and Hyde” nine-year-old who needs a manual for his many quirks, but has exceeded expectations in the ring

    Aragon Z

    Stable name: Flint
    Age: nine
    Breeding: Asca Z x Karlstad (Ramiro Z)
    Owner: Barbara and Duncan Arthurs with Jay Halim
    Rider: Jay Halim
    Breeder: B Welten (Belgium)
    Greatest achievements: joint-winner of 2019 talent seekers championship (HOYS, October 2019); winner of the Al Shira’aa Bolesworth grand prix (August 2020); third in the national grand prix at Royal Windsor (May 2019); winner of the 1.50m Wales and West area trial (2019)

    Rider Jay Halim

    “‘Flint’ first caught my eye as a six-year-old in the collecting ring at Hartpury with Alfie Bradstock, as he was with Graham and Tina Fletcher to sell.

    “He was very lean and I’d go as far as saying he was too small for me, but there was something about the feeling he gave me when I tried him – I like that you can ride him quite loose. But he didn’t feel like he was going to become the horse he is today; from the start he’s just exceeded expectations.

    “Royal Windsor was his first proper show, where he was third in the Walwyn novice championship – he knew nothing, but every time he goes through those start gates, he’s been the ultimate professional. He’s not flashy and you certainly wouldn’t have picked him out in his young horse classes, but his heart completely over-rules everything – he tries every time.

    “He’s Jekyll and Hyde in the stable and it once took me three days to catch him in the field – he has so many funny little quirks that aren’t a problem if you know the manual. But he’s the easiest horse in the ring and has these amazing springs on his feet.

    “Winning at Horse of the Year Show [HOYS] is something I dreamt of as a kid, so he will always be special for giving me that last year in the talent seekers.”

    Groom Lauren Turnbull

    “He’s the only horse I get nervous for when watching them in the ring – I’m too nervous to move, in fact. Then if he wins, I cry just because I’m so proud of him. It’s ridiculous! I felt like a proud mum when he won his first trial at Wales and West last year and I was bawling my eyes out waiting for him after he won at HOYS. He always looks for me as he comes out of the ring and expects one of his favourite NAF minty treats.

    “He trusts me with everything now because he’s attached himself to me. But he’s also slightly strange and a bit feral – he’s very particular about only liking certain people and some days I’m the only person who can catch him in the stable. When you lead him, you have to let him walk in front of you like a dog so he can pull you along.

    “But he’s so cute and cuddly and he’s all over anyone with a metal zip on their coat – he loves fluffy hoods as well. He’s such a character.”

    Owners Barbara and Duncan Arthurs

    “Jay had been all over Europe looking for a horse for us to buy, but couldn’t find anything he believed in until Aragon Z came along.

    “We’ve owned racehorses, but had never had a showjumper before, yet within three years we’ve owned a horse who won at HOYS, has been placed in three- and four-star ranking classes, won area trials and now a grand prix.

    “We feel privileged to have been involved in the sport for such a short time yet enjoyed such incredible success, which has been achieved through the high level of experience and commitment from Jay and his team.”

    Ref Horse & Hound; 10 September 2020