Continuing with memories from the British National Championships in this Centenary year for the Arab Horse Society, we feature our next British National Champion. Lalique DS makes a return to our list – this time for her ridden achievements.
Lalique DS – by Kit Rolfe
There are some wonderful ridden champions out there that command my utmost admiration and several that I would dearly love to sit on, but the horse of my dreams is the magical, ethereal beauty that is Lalique DS (Menes x La Salone Ltd).
I was so privileged to share Lalique’s life for almost three years. When Alistair Leslie rang me to enquire about the possibility of her coming to me for dressage training, I put down the telephone afterwards and thought that I’d imagined it! All that summer, I’d watched and admired Lalique in the ridden mare classes as I rode my own precious Jazmyn (Kasadi x Sophy) alongside her.
I had always likened Lalique to a fairy princess because that is how she comes across to me. She also exudes a vulnerability that may be legacy from the time she spent at the Gucci Stud. Of all the horses in the world, she is one that is so kind, pure and sweet and least deserves any treatment that isn’t the best.
The first day I rode Lalique, I immediately knew why judges loved her. Her movement is deceptively powerful and full of activity and it was some time before I could ride her in sitting trot! Lalique’s own natural way of going was exactly what is wished for in the show-ring – her head carriage is such that you could put a complete novice on board and she would make them look good and she was always round, forward and obedient.
She took to dressage just as she would have taken to any other discipline – like a duck to water. In her first year in British Dressage (BD), she competed successfully at two BD Regional Championships and when I showed her in the regular ridden classes, she qualified for the Horse of the Year Show at our second attempt. It was a proud moment for us all when she stood Ridden Arabian Mare of the Year later that year at Wembley.
Lalique had her fabulous baby Ali Abbas (by Adawy) while she was with me and again, she proved that she is perfect in yet another way by being the perfect mum. Ali, a major winner in the show-ring like Lalique’s other beautiful babies, is now proving a successful sire of his own babies.
After Ali was born, Lalique was retired from ridden competition and went home to live with her adoring and faithful owner, Alistair. Such is his love for this horse that nothing will ever part him from her while they both breathe. Alistair tells me that nothing gives him greater pleasure than to watch Lalique happily grazing in her field with her latest daughter, Kristal (by Karat*). Kristal is a stunning grey two-year-old filly bred through artificial insemination so that Lalique should have no further stress in her life through leaving her home to go away to stud. Kristal is the clone of her dam.
This unique mare not only holds the title British National Champion under saddle, but also a Reserve British National Champion in-hand title. She has succeeded in everything that she has turned her hoof to and she has commanded admiration and love from everyone who has been lucky enough to know her. In Alistair’s own words, she is “the kindest horse in the world”.
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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.