Wednesday, 25 November 2015

SPILLERS fed Leo’s journey to Olympia 2015: Part 1!

By Caroline Hamilton

First and foremost, let’s introduce the team behind this Olympia showing adventure

Leo with handler, Bethany

Lostock Huntsman (Leo): 24YO coloured stallion.
Bethany Driver: Leo’s 17 year old handler.
Caroline Hamilton: Bethany’s mother and breeder of Leo.

Leo’s fact file!

        Sired by Lostock Blue and out of Daisy May. I am also the past owner of Lostock Blue.
       Leo is an ex intermediate eventer.
       He had an extremely successful showing career, both in hand and ridden. He notably won the Coloured Horse and Pony Championship at Horse of the Year Show in 1998.
       He hunted for a total of 15 seasons, rarely missing a day.
       Leo is still a working stallion who has sired numerous foals who have gone on to compete in similar disciplines to himself.
SPILLERS feed supports the senior, showing, stallion!

Leo before the trial
In the autumn of 2014, we had discussions with our feed supplier, Mole Valley, to seek their expertise about how to help maintain or improve Leo’s condition. It just so happens that Mole Valley were conducting a field trial for SPILLERS® Senior Conditioning Mix at that time. We duly entered the trial and sent pictures of Leo to SPILLERS and were extremely pleased to be chosen as one of the lucky participants.

The SPILLERS nutritionists provided us with a feeding plan for Leo which we consistently followed for the trials three month period. To say that the results were amazing is an understatement. Leo has thrived on the SPILLERS® Senior Conditioning Mix and his improvement is clearly visible in the pictures we took of him at the following intervals, Oct’14, April’15 and July’15.
If Leo’s got it, flaunt it!

We were all in agreement that Leo looked so well that he deserved to be taken out to a show. We joined the Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd and shortly after started looking at veteran, in-hand showing classes.
Leo after his bath!
There’s always a hiccup on show day!

Our first outing to test the waters of a veteran showing class didn’t quite go to plan. We had spent hours ensuring that Leo looked show ready which had included everything from grooming, bathing, tail washing to trimming and plaiting up. Just after we had loaded Leo up in the early hours of the morning, we discovered that the radio in the horsebox had been left on resulting in a very flat battery. Unfortunately on this occasion, we were a no-show.

Show day… Take 2!
Leo at the SSADL Show
Thankfully, our second outing on 12th July proved to be a much more successful trip. Having completed our show day preparation making Leo look as smart as can be, we safely travelled to Arena UK for the SSADL Show. Coincidentally, this was the same show where the second round Olympia qualifiers was being held.

Leo was very much on his toes in the first class, failing to settle and finding the atmosphere of this pony party quite exciting. We had forgotten, of course, that is was some 12 years since Leo had been in a competitive showing environment. Although Leo was penalised for his manners, he managed to score high enough to win the Senior Plus Section which qualified him for the second round.

Leo's lap of honour after qualifying for Olympia!
The pressure was on!
The Second Round Section was much later in the schedule which gave Leo time to settle back at the horsebox. Once the second class had commenced, Leo found his composure and totally shone.

His paces were solid, he was well-mannered and obedient with Bethany’s expert handling. Leo went on to win the class AND the championship which in turn qualified us for the Olympia grand finale.

It was a very great moment for us as a family to watch Bethany and Leo’s partnership achieve such success. Keep an eye out for us at the Olympia International Horse Show 2015 and stay tuned for our next blog!