Thursday, 17 December 2015

SPILLERS fed Leo’s journey to Olympia 2015: Part 2!

Leo, winning HOYS in 1998. Photo credits Real Time Imaging
Following his triumphant performance at Arena UK in July 2015, 24 YO coloured stallion Lostock Huntsman (Leo) and his handler, Bethany, are now preparing for their showing debut at the prestigious Olympia Horse Show in December 2015. Before I recap on where we all are now, let’s pick up where my last blog finished just after Leo had qualified for Olympia.

Back To Reality… For Now
Once Leo returned home after Arena UK, he settled back into his normal routine, enjoying his SPILLERS® Senior Conditioning Mix feed alongside summer turnout. Leo was also kept busy as a total of 6 mares were covered and in foal by him over the summer.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn!
As autumn approached our thoughts turned towards preparing Leo for his Olympia performance. Leo’s skin and coat condition had improved immensely since changing his diet to SPILLERS® Senior Conditioning Mix, and it was time to decide whether to clip him. Of course, we wanted Leo to look his best at Olympia and as his new and improved coat was so healthy and glossy, we decided to not have him clipped. Unfortunately for us, Leo enjoys nothing more than a mud bath which meant that we were leading in a brown horse from the field rather than a coloured!

Beth and Leo out on
one of their hacks.
Operation: Keep Leo Fit For Olympia
As the fields became continually wetter, Leo’s turnout had to be cut down. In order to keep him in shape for Olympia, Bethany and I had decided that Leo would benefit from some gentle exercise and hacking seemed like the ideal workout. Both Beth and Leo really enjoy their hacks and it is lovely to see Leo’s ears pricked forward every time they leave the yard. Even after being out of ridden work for more than 2 years, Leo still has the same enthusiasm as he did when he hunted! The new riding jacket provided by SPILLERS® has also come in handy as Beth looks very smart when out hacking!

Leo’s Leading Weeks Until Olympia
Leo’s recipe for success now involves a daily routine of the following exercises:

·        A leg stretch in the field.
·        A gentle hack round the lanes with Bethany.
·        Some in hand showing practice. Trotting a figure of 8 seems to be Leo’s strong point, although Beth sometimes struggles to keep up with his strides!

 Of course, Leo does not go without a daily pamper session which includes:

·        A 20 minute groom.
·        A hot oil rub down for his coat.
·        Moisturising spray on his mane and tail before being rugged up ready for bed 

To ensure that Leo is always as snug as a bug in a rug, our friend Maralyn had kindly made him an under blanket made of double thickness moleskin fleece which we always use under his rugs.

 The Countdown Begins
Beth, 6 months old at HOYS 1998.
Our countdown has finally begun with only a couple of days left until Bethany and Leo compete at the Olympia Horse Show in London. We’re all feeling very excited now as the hotel is booked, tickets are purchased and checklists are being made. This will be the first time that Leo has been back to London since he competed at the Horse of The Year Show in 1998 at Wembley. It all feels quite surreal to me as Beth was only 6 months old when we took her and Leo to Wembley, and now 17 years later she will be leading him herself. I will be very proud of them both whatever the outcome.

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