Stallion returns to victory after four-year break due to injuries from jumping off lorry *H&H Plus*

  • An 11-year-old stallion steps up for Anna Power when making a winning return to competition, while Irishman Richard Howley claims grand prix honours in the competitive 1.45m finale at the CSI2* Autumn Mediterranean Equestrian Tour (MET), Oliva Nova, Spain

    Anna Power’s 11-year-old stallion Tahiclaud ended his comeback tour by taking his first-ever win in a very competitive 1.45m one-star bronze tour final (pictured).

    Anna has owned the son of Kashmir Van Schuttershof since he was five but he had four years off competing after he jumped from the top of the lorry ramp as a seven-year-old and picked up a number of injuries. He has spent the intervening time as the “family pet”, with Anna’s dad often caring for him at home.

    “It’s been really nice for everyone that’s involved with me and understands where he has come from,” she said.

    “He has improved so much since we were out here. The first week he didn’t have much stamina as he hasn’t competed in such a long time but by the last week he was looking so much fitter. He had to be very fast to win and he is not the fastest horse naturally but he learnt to gallop again and is picking it all back up.

    “We always really believed in him as he has so much ability and is really careful, injury just stopped him from getting where we expected him to be,” she added. “Hopefully this is a step in the right direction and we might aim for some bigger tracks next year.”

    Anna, who took three horses on the tour, including a seven-year-old she bought from Belgium en route, also finished third overall in the six-year-old tour rankings with Solomon, who is co-owned with Bina Ford.

    Howley holds the lead

    Two Yorkshire riders claimed the top spots in the MET’s 1.45m finale, with a bold round from Wetherby-based Irishman Richard Howley (Arlo De Blondel) remaining 1.89sec out in front of John Whitaker and Unick Du Francport.

    Eighty-three combinations came forward over Bernardo Costa Cabral’s track, with 10 making it through to the deciding phase. Richard and the 10-year-old gelding, bought from Michael Whitaker last year, set an insurmountable target from second draw to take the €7,000 (£6,400) win.

    The 28-year-old rider eked out every last millimetre from the track, combining ground speed with brave lines and making some well-judged decisions on where to save time.

    “The distance down to fence three was eight strides. A few people did seven, but it pushed them out on the left side. I did an outside eight and rolled back tight on the next vertical,” he said. “I gave my horse a bit more time to jump the double – that was a difficult fence in the jump-off. My horse is super-careful, so I could take a bit of risk on the second-last vertical and then continued with a nice gallop to the last.”

    Arlo, who Richard recently jumped on the third-placed Irish Nations Cup team in Vilamoura, is co-owned with Sarah Borthwick, who also co-owns his other top ride, Chinook.

    “He’s a fantastic horse and I am thrilled to have him,” Richard said. “We have a big year next year with the Olympics and the Europeans in our sights, and it was a nice way to finish off 2020.”

    Britain’s Annabel Shields, who was jumping her first Spanish tour, collected five 1.30m-level wins during six weeks away from home with her 17-year-old campaigner Wet Wet Wet.

    Two of these came in the final four days as the Dutch grey, who was British national champion in 2017, headed both Thursday’s and Saturday’s 1.30m gold tour classes.

    “I’ve tried to give him an easier life but he doesn’t want to retire,” Annabel said. “These classes are a bit of a walk in the park for him – he always paid the bills jumping the bigger tracks and now he is managing to do it over the smaller ones.

    “Since the day I bought him no one else has ever sat on him, so I like to bring him out with me as he is my little sidekick – he’s my best friend,” she added. “I may even jump some bigger tracks with him again next year.”

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 10 December 2020

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