PRE fusion horse Diamanté, whose owner brought him to the UK from Andalusia after falling in love with him whilst on a trekking holiday, will make his debut at the London International Horse Show after applying for Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd ( SSADL) has qualified. Final.
Virginia Draper’s 18-year-old Diamanté – known at home as Mr D – qualified for the in-hand championship at Onley Equestrian Center in September. Mr D is the only Spanish horse to qualify for the 2022 Championships but he will be joined in London by Joanne Eldridge’s 15-year-old Lusitano Cayak for the ridden final.
“Our first-round qualifier was at an agricultural show,” explains Virginia. “We then competed in two shows for the second round and to my great astonishment we won the championship. My mother watched proudly as her lovely friends cheered us on ringside. Both the tears and bucks fizz flowed.”
Mr. D. was bred in a small village in Andalusia, Spain.
“His breeder is not a horse; He had bought a PRE mare to ride in the local ferías and months later Mr. D. joined,” Virginia continues. “Mr D. was then bought by Los Olivillos as a teenager. He grew into a handsome stallion before becoming a popular trekking horse.”
Virginia first met Mr. D. when she went on a horseback riding vacation.
“From the moment I saw Mr. D. shake his paw, it was love at first sight,” she recalls. “Los Olivillos recognized our connection and after many riding holidays together in the Andalusian mountains, a 12-year-old Mr. D. came to see me in England. My dream of owning a horse came true.
“Since then we’ve spent an amazing six years hacking, competing and just generally enjoying life.”
Mr D, who is also a finalist in the SEIB Showing World Awards 2022, also competes in British dressage and participates in Iberian showings. In the show ring, the couple concentrates on foreign breed, veteran and concours d’elegance classes.
“He loves attention,” says Virginia. “This year Mr. D looked and felt good. I built his fitness by hacking in Hertfordshire and we also raced in a 100 mile summer charity challenge.
“This year I learned how to pull a trailer and we had the most amazing show year I could have ever wished for and a lot of fun in our adventures together. He won seven championship titles during the summer show season, including Best of the Best Supreme on The HOPE Show.
“He is my horse of my life. Diamanté Del Rey translates to “King of Diamonds” but he is also the king of my heart. I am forever grateful to him for making all my dreams come true.”
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Credit: Steve Dawe
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