One of Carl Hester’s New Year’s resolutions was to make his Grand Prix debut with the KWPN Ekitof (Zucchero x Negro x Joost). He did that last weekend in Hartpury and won with over 71%. Nothing special you may say, but it was only the seventh competition in his life for the Zucchero-son, who is known for being quirky. The last time the black roan, whose stable name is Blackie, was in the ring was just over a year ago. Ekitof, bred by Gertjan van Olst and D. Faro from ‘s-Gravenmoer, moved as a young horse to Carl Hester’s yard. Ridden by Amy Woodhead, the Zucchero-son won the British Championship for five-year-old dressage horses. He was then ridden by Charlotte Dujardin. Two years later Dujardin was national champion with the gelding at Advanced Medium-level.
‘Not a horse for the fainthearted’
Between the championship and the Grand Prix debut the quirky Blackie was only competed once, in the Prix St Georges. “He really went straight from the Small Tour to the Grand Prix and was fairly wound up.”said Carl Hester after the horse’s first competition for a year. Hester explained to Horse&Hound: “He is not a horse for the fainthearted – you have to really have a sense of humour to ride him. When he was at the Championships with Charlotte it took three of us to take him into the ring. But then he immediately won!”
“I’m never doing that again’
Hester continued: “We always thought that once Blackie was fully trained he would become more obedient. It just took a long time to teach him everything. At first he didn’t seem to have any talent, but now that he has learnt everything he is actually very talented. He was just exceptionally lazy – after the championship Charlotte said ‘I’m never doing that again’. But I’m now really pleased.” Carl Hester became attached to the horse and the plans for the tuna-sandwich-eating Blackie are now a couple more national competitions in the Big Tour and then international.