First published in The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine Volume II Issue I September 2017.
Celebrating the Champions – Czamak & Cziko
Where do I start? Both our homebred full brothers are now FEI 3* horses and at the top of their game! The year started well with Oakleazefarm Czamak (Czarus x Roundhills Desert Rhapsody) heading out strong in then 120km 2* at Kings Forest in April. The day went perfectly; we rode the first loop in a small group before breaking off to finish the day with David Yeoman and the lovely TropVite Azureen. I planned just to get the distance so that Czamak could go 3* this season; I hadn’t planned to leave with a win.
After Kings, Czamak had some time out so my concentration turned to his older brother, Oaklezefarm Cziko. He was on the list for the 1* at Royal Windsor and we awaited news of the ballot. It would be his first time there and Cziko loved it! As always, he took everything in his stride, nothing phases him. Mum was riding too, so Bella Fricker and Abby and Tess Chisholm became the A Team and top crew for the day.
Cziko is 17-years old and owes me nothing. His achievements are ever growing and Windsor was all about having fun. We flew the first loop riding in a lovely group with mum and Fiona Griffiths, Beth Langley, Lauren Mills and Annie Joppe. The canter around Ascot Racecourse beats every other ride experience, although you wouldn’t get me jumping those fences! Cziko knows his job; vetgates came and went, we cantered over the line in fourth place. At the final vetting, it really sank in that we could be meeting HM The Queen!
Czamak. David Saunders Photo.
I really can’t thank this horse enough for the opportunities he’s given me over the years; he really is a one in a million horse. From my first ever 120km 2*, to competing on the Development Squad, Young Rider Squad, completing our first 160km 3* and now meeting the Queen. After a fantastic race and a morning of cleaning tack, we headed in convoy to the show. The horses were stabled and we shopped before getting dressed up for the prize giving. I left the show thinking how my horses always do me proud, never thinking the next ride would end as it did.
Eight weeks later, it was 160km time for Czamak, so back to the beautiful Kings Forest we go. Once again Czamak flew. Unfortunately there were only three of us in this class, all wanting that 3* qualification. The 5.30am start came and off we went. Five loops later we were still going strong. With 16km to go, we settled into our steady canter and bowled along the green loop. I crossed the finish line and it hit me. Both of my horses have done 160km! All my training and care had paid off. We passed the final vetting with flying colours and in a blur. Not in a million years did I expect to once again come home with a win. Kings Forest really is a lucky ride for me.
Mum and I returned the next day with Cziko and Czako for a canter around the 32km. People commented on how crazy I was riding again; I didn’t think so until Cziko pulled the whole way, clearly fresh and ready for his next event.
I cannot begin to say how proud I am of all my horses. It is it’s so rewarding when you personally put everything in and get great results. Thank you to all the fantastic people who have been part of our team so far this year, especially my parents; it wouldn’t be possible without them.
Words by Louise Rich