A competitive six-year-old winter championship at the 2022 British Showjumping Spring Championships (24—27 March) went to Leicestershire-based Thomas Dovkants riding one of his four finalists.
His leading man was Carron Nicol’s Gmail, a 16.2hh grey gelding by Cornet Obolensky, who certainly shares his sire’s talent over a fence.
Gmail and Thomas led the 13-head jump off with a time of 30.53.
Carron bought Gmail as a youngster from Belgium and has produced him up the levels. After breaking a vertebrae in her back, Carron asked Thomas to take the ride.
“Carron and her team have done an amazing job with him,” enthused Thomas, who was joined at the 2022 British Showjumping Spring Championships by his mum, who he says is ‘one of the biggest supporters in his life.’
“We’ve had Gmail for about four months, which isn’t a lifetime but long enough to get to know him. He’s a bit of a nightmare at home; you can’t leave anything around or he’ll chew it.”
The decision to geld Gmail was made about eight months ago.
“He’s recently gelded and it was the best choice,” said Thomas. “His quality of life is unbelievable and he can now live like a normal horse. You would never know he had been a stallion for so long. He loves life and it shows in his results.”
“He’s a funny chap, both on the yard and in the ring,” added Thomas, whose team had 10 horses on site at Northcote Stud. “He’s got loads of attitude and character which works in his favour when you put him against the clock. He’s brave and he’s always game.”
“The jump off was a nice, forward course which asked for big canter strides,” commented Thomas. “The quality [in the six-year-old final] was unbelievable; everytime we come to this venue there are a lot of nice horses.
“My tactic for the jump-off was to simply leave the first fence up. Gmail is good at going fast, but he can struggle on the turns; he comes back at you a bit, so all I wanted was for him to not get lost and follow my body around the corners. He made all three turns well and didn’t struggle at all. It was the best jump off I’ve had with him.”
Gmail is now gearing up to appear at the Royal International (RIHS) in July after qualifying earlier in the season.
“I’m so grateful to have such a fantastic team of owners,” Thomas concluded. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
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