Spanish Hidalgo – a truly rewarding gentleman
(written by Kimberley Barrett)
Both myself and my husband worked in racing for many years. Including his dad who looked after the famous Shirley Heights. After I left I had a 20 year old section D that I used to show but she was nearing retirement and I was looking for a new challenge. My husband called me one day saying that Spanish Hidalgo had run his last race as he had bled. He was a successful racehorse winning over £64k including the St Leger Italiano. He said pop up to the yard and speak to Mr Dunlop. It was a Friday afternoon when I popped up to our old yard where we both worked and spoke to Mr Dunlop about Spanish Hidalgo who was owned by Mrs Patino (owner of Snow Fairy, Elusive Pimpernel) Mr Dunlop was aware I was looking for a show horse and said he would do very well, and he had a lot to do with the RoR in the early days as well as being the owner of some very top show horses.
I rode him out on the gallops the next day and picked him up on the Tuesday, and our journey began!!
For the first year, I just mainly hacked him about and taking him to a few small in hand shows. The following February we went to a Lynn Russell showing clinic. I would highly recommend the clinics you learn so much it also starts to get them used to being ridden together. We then competed in a few dressage’s always in the ribbons and then did our first ridden show in the May coming 2nd in the TARRA qualifier.
Over the years he has never disappointed unless he was in one of his moods!! I took a long time to find the right feed for him, as anything conditioning sent him a bit mad!! He did his first county show RoR qualifier back in 2010. We have gone from strength to strength numerous places at County shows, was 5th At Royal Windsor 2013, qualified and competed Hickstead 2014, Restricted Hack Champion Equifest 2016 and numerous other wins and placing.
In 2017, we competed in the Osbaldeston Search 4 a Star qualifier, we had previously been placed 5th in 2015. We won the hack/riding horse class which qualified us for HOYS!!
He made all my dreams come true by riding in the ring at HOYS, he went foot perfect for ride Judge Katie Jerram who gave the most amazing comments about him, we finished 2nd. He gave me the most amazing ride there, all the past 8 years was worth the blood sweat and tears.
This year we are just out and about having fun till we tackle the Veteran qualifiers next year. For anyone starting out with thier ex racer you can achieve anything you want. The most rewarding part is that you have done it yourself. If I could offer any advice would be become a member of the RoR go to all the amazing clinics they offer, watch the professionals and learn how they turn them out and watch them working in. A great show to go to is the RoR Championship show, held in the beautiful Aintree racecourse.
Most of all enjoy the journey, there will be ups and downs but the ups are so much sweeter when you achieve them.