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Abbervail Dream

Abbervail Dream, or Mac as he is known at home, is Di’s top horse. Having won the Queen’s Cup at the age of seven, the Irish-bred gelding is now, aged 16, a veteran of more than 30 British teams, and has recently come back into work after being sidelined earlier in the season.

“Mac has been my top horse for so long now that it would be difficult to imagine life without him,” says Di. “He’s a real showman and loves the big atmosphere. He does have a very sharp character and that works against him indoors, as the people close to the ring excite him.

“He hasn’t been easy to produce, but he does have tremendous scope and is extremely brave — in another life, although his movement isn’t the best, he could well have made an eventer. Because of his scope and bravery, he can sometimes find technical courses quite difficult. He’s at his best in rings such as Hickstead’s International Arena.

“He’s a big horse at 17hh, but his conformation isn’t ideal. Although he’s an attractive horse, he is sway backed and as a young horse, all the muscle was underneath his neck. This has improved through consistent schooling, though. He also doesn’t have the best hocks, but he’s all heart and has coped his best with these shortcomings.”

William’s Spirit

William’s Spirit is 10 years old and British-bred. He suffered a leg injury in 2001 that put him out for 18 months and has only recently returned to the ring, finishing second in the Rexton Power and Speed Championship at HOYS.

“The first time I sat on William, I was convinced that I’d found my superstar,” says Di. “We knew he was talented, so we did nothing with him until he was five and then produced him carefully.

“I strongly believe that we ask horses to do too much too young and that four-year-olds shouldn’t be jumping at shows. If you end up with an international prospect, no one ever asks what it did at the age of four or five.

“William had it all — the temperament and fantastic ability. He was placed in his novice finals at HOYS and then was going well internationally.

“Since he came back, he isn’t the same horse and, although he’s had a 100% bill of health, I can’t help wondering if he will ever return to his former level. But he definitely could have been anything, a top-class eventer or even a show horse.”

 

  • Don’t miss the second part of Di Lampard’s new series on training the show jumper in this Thursday’s Horse & Hound (16 October). The first article in the series can be found in the current issue of Horse & Hound (9 October).

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