Memories of the British Nationals: Lalique DS

Continuing with memories from the British National Championships in this Centenary year for the Arab Horse Society, we feature our next British National Champion. This mare actually appeared twice on the list, and it is easy to see why.


Lalique DS – by Heather Brown
When I was asked to write about my favourite British National Champion, one mare dominated my mind to the exclusion of all others: Lalique DS. For me she typifies what an Arabian mare should be: beautiful, feminine, athletic, enthusiastic and definitely a mare you would love to have as both your battle horse and friend to sleep in your Bedouin tent.

Bred in the USA in 1989, Lalique was sired by Menes*** and out of La Salone Ltd. With ancestors such as Naseem, Bask, Arax and Mammona, is it any surprise how wonderful she is? La Salone is by the famous Russian sire *Salon (sire of Triple Crown winner Muscat) and out of Bint La Quinta, a daughter of *Bask and US National Reserve Champion SX La Quinta by Crabbet stallion *Serafix.

Lalique was Top Ten USA as a yearling and was then purchased by Gucci and imported to the UK. As a two year old, she won at the British Nationals, UK International, Towerlands, and All Nations, Aachen, an illustrious beginning. Lalique was purchased by the late Linda Hannaford from the Gucci sale. Linda was a hero from my younger days with her fabulous team “The Arabian Knights” flying around huge fences at the local team chases: she certainly knew a good Arab!

After much persuasion, Alistair Leslie was fortunate to be able to purchase Lalique and, in 1998, passed her into the capable hands of Hayley Budge. With her in-hand successes and an experienced mum, Lalique was really a mare that had done it all except she had hardly been sat on. She was backed in no time and having great confidence in her, Hayley put Lalique straight into the open classes. With great understanding of the Arabian psyche, Hayley set about forming that special relationship going hacking and doing a few long distance rides rather than going round and round in circles. It is this that, in my opinion,  gave her that extra special quality of charisma and freedom of spirit that shone through when, in 1999, she deservedly won British National Ridden Mare, Ridden Arab Champion and Supreme Ridden of the show!

In 2000 she returned to the Nationals but this time with Emma Maxwell at the helm for the in-hand classes, she came away with the Reserve British National Mare title – what a fantastic achievement. Later with Kit Rolfe, she went on to be Champion Mare at the Horse of the Year Show. She also competed successfully in dressage where she got to the Nationals at Bedford finishing fifth against all breeds.

Both before and after all her fabulous show successes, Lalique has been a wonderful mother to numerous children including G Lancelot (Champion Novice Ridden – Malvern 2005) owned by Roseanne Edwards. This year, Lalique has produced a lovely filly for Alistair, sired by Reserve British National Champion Karat*.

What a wonderful mare…wish she was mine!

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This post comes from a series we first ran in The Arabian Magazine in 2005. Called Malvern Calling, the series celebrated British National Champions from Malvern, Ascot and even Kempton Park, and different readers shared their favourite memory from the British Nationals. There is always something special about watching the moment a horse is crowned British National Champion, so please enjoy the memories that will be shared here over the coming month.

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