To continue our series on horses we can’t wait to see after lockdown, Polly Bryan finds out more about the para dressage world champion, who isn’t an easy ride, but dazzles in the arena
C Fatal Attraction
Breeding: Fidertanz x Olivi
Owner: Charlotte Hogg
Rider: Sophie Wells
Breeders: Astrid Bolton and Betty Brandon
Greatest achievements: team gold and double individual silver at the 2015 Europeans in Deauville, France; national winter prix st georges freestyle champion 2017; team gold, individual gold and silver at the 2017 Europeans in Gothenburg, Sweden; team silver and double individual gold at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA; triple silver at the 2019 Europeans in Rotterdam, Netherlands; inter I third at 2019 National Dressage Championships.
Rider Sophie Wells
“I’ll never forget riding ‘Jorge’ at the World Equestrian Games [WEG] in 2018, where I knew we had to post a massive score for the team, and we achieved a Grade V WEG record of 77.23%. I felt so proud that he had gone in that arena, completely listened and given me everything he had on that day, when it really mattered.
“He can be frustrating sometimes. He is spooky and often rather dramatic – every day at home he will spook at something in the arena, and you can barely give him a vaccination or pull his mane – but in many respects he’s as chilled as anything, such as when he went to his first foreign international.
“Jorge is so talented and expressive, and once you motivate him he will just keep going for you.
“I want to get to grand prix in able-bodied dressage with him – maybe if he was with Carl [Hester] and Charlotte [Dujardin] he might be there already, but he can pretty much run through the grand prix at home now, so it’s definitely on the cards for us. It will be a special day if and when we get there.”
Groom Beth Revill
“Jorge can be quite territorial in his stable and a bit of a grumpy chap around food – but plenty of people are like that too! He can be cheeky, but most of the time he is good as gold, and loves attention.
“He loves being away at shows, and he loves his job – he’s a dancing queen! It’s because of him that I have the opportunity to travel everywhere with Sophie, and I’m really excited for next year. It’s usually just me and Jorge hanging out when we’re away, and the two of us get on so well, which makes the job much easier. He always comes out of the arena looking for me with his sugar cube and asking if he did OK.
“Every time I hear his freestyle music I get emotional. One of my favourite memories was when Sophie and Jorge came third in the inter I at Horse of the Year Show in 2017; prior to that Jorge was still the baby, slightly in the shadow of Valerius [Sophie’s Rio ride]. But that night he smashed it and really proved himself. Since then he has flourished and blossomed and now he’s the main guy.”
Judge Sarah Leitch
“Sophie and Jorge are such a great partnership. He has wonderful energy and extravagant movement, and Sophie is a brave rider. Jorge certainly isn’t an easy horse – Sophie has made him into the great character and competitor that he is. He can be nervous, but she gives him the belief that he can do these things, in the same way she does with the riders she trains. She’s a very talented rider, and has produced a string of horses – she’s actually a lot like Charlotte Dujardin.
“Jorge is an exciting horse to judge; he likes to go in and show off and he has plenty of ability – his half-passes are up there with the very best. At the para winter championships earlier this year Sophie and Jorge received over 80% in all three of their classes, from all the judges. They really deserved that.”
Ref Horse & Hound; 18 June 2020
You may also be interested in…
Find out more about the rider who scooped two brilliant gold medals for Britain at the World Equestrian Games in
Sophie Wells misses out on individual gold by a fraction, scoring para silver for Britain at European Championships
Britain’s Sophie Wells topped 80% today in Tryon to take the grade V freestyle gold medal, using a new soundtrack
‘The horse is very calm and laid-back and we were only walking – you wouldn’t have thought an accident would
Britain's Sophie Wells claims gold on day one of the para dressage in Tryon