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From youngster to international Grand Prix horse: Good Luck

Tuesday, 26 September 2017
From youngster to international Grand Prix horse

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson “From the beginning, he was the kind of horse that attracted people to look at him," says Fabrice Galdini about Good Luck. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

“I have no idea how he got his name,” Fabrice Galdini laughs when asked about how one of the world’s most famous horses ended up being called Good Luck. “But, I guess the ‘Luck’ part has worked!”

Galdini rode Good Luck for his breeder, and back then also owner, Dirk Geerinckx from the stallion was a tiny tot until the year he turned eight and got sold to Cian O’Connor’s owners Adena Springs. Always an eye-catcher, Good Luck has this year gone into full blossom winning team gold and individual bronze at the European Championships in Gothenburg.

But how was the now 11-year-old stallion by Canturo x Furioso II as a youngster? Was he always this exceptional and flashy? World of Showjumping goes back in time with Galdini, and discover that Good Luck was indeed always something spectacular.

It all started with Good Luck’s mother Famosa Z. Born in 1987, she had several foals before Good Luck came to the world in 2006 – and is also the mother of Kismet, that was successful at international Grand Prix level under Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Candice King. “Good Luck also has a full-sister called Hermeline, who has given us three foals after she was injured as a 4-year-old – one really special one that is now 2-years-old by Comme Il Faut. It jumps very similar to Good Luck,” tells Fabrice.

As a young horse, Good Luck was not as handsome as today. “He was really, really small,” Fabrice tells. “As a 3-year-old he measured 162 cm and was also slender, so actually we decided to put him under the saddle later than the other horses. Free jumping as a 3 ½ year old, he was already a freak though – you could see he was something special despite his tiny frame. After doing a couple of small training shows, we just put him back in the field – he was still too small and we did not want to push it.”

“Seven or eight months later, when he was five, we took him in again. He had grown a bit, about five cm I think and looked more ready,” says Fabrice. “From the beginning, he was the kind of horse that attracted people to look at him. Even in the warm-up for the 5-year-olds at training shows people would start looking, he always jumped one meter higher than the fence – every single time. We had to keep him really low in the classes, and also at home make sure to canter a lot of poles with him as well as jumping small cavaletties before and after the shows to keep him quiet. He was almost a bit too much. I could never put boots behind, then he jumped even more crazy. Actually once, at a show when he was seven I put on the young horse hind boots but he jumped so much behind that I did not even dare to put the video out – it just looked too much even though it was all natural!”

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Cian O'Connor and Good Luck at the European Championships in Gothenburg where they won team gold and individual bronze. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

In other words: Good Luck was always spectacular, and he always jumped like a freak – just like today. However, he was not the easiest to ride. “He was a bit difficult, as he had a lot of blood and sometimes could be a bit of a stallion,” Fabrice tells. “But, some of the best ones are also very special – like Shutterfly for example – and I guess that is what made Good Luck so exceptional in the end. When he was younger, he could be quite wild at the jump – both before and after, but especially after and it was not always easy to calm him down before the next fence.”

“In the stables and at the show he was always easy to handle – it was only when you started jumping that he became like a lion,” Fabrice smiles.

Early on, Good Luck attracted attention and in the end a sale was inevitable. “Everybody was looking at him already from when he was five, but like I said he was a bit wild and I guess that kept those interested in him a bit sceptic. When he was seven, he jumped like a freak and people began asking for him. At the age of eight, he was clear in nearly all the two-star Grand Prix classes he jumped – sometimes with a time fault because he went so high. Everybody started to call for him. It really became a lot of pressure, with so many wanting to buy him. In the end, Abdel Said came in and made the deal with Cian – it was just after the two-star Grand Prix at Sentower Park in 2014, my last show with Good Luck,” Fabrice tells.

“I can honestly say: I rode a lot of horses in my life, but never had a feeling like on Good Luck! From the first jump I made with him, I knew he was special. He could just jump anything from nothing. A horse like him you only get once in your life, and I think that also is the same for Cian. There is only one Good Luck,” Fabrice says.

However, Good Luck’s legacy lives on – his breeder Dirk Geerinckx made sure to take semen from him and will next year welcome two foals by the fantastic stallion. “We put him on one mare that is by Vingino, that also was a bit of a freak herself and then on a big scopey mare by Grandeur. It will be exciting to see,” says Fabrice. 

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. “I think the reason they clicked so well is that they are both determined, and they are both fighters," says Abdel Said about Cian and Good Luck. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Abdel Said, who ended up helping to secure the deal for Cian O’Connor confirms that Good Luck always was exceptional.  “I saw Good Luck already as a 6- and 7-year-old and he was jumping amazing, even though he was not a horse for just anybody. Then in September 2014, I got a video from a good friend of me of Good Luck jumping in a two-star Grand Prix in France. He kept on jumping the same way in the 1.45m classes – flying over the fences – and of course I asked for him, but got the answer he was not for sale.”

“About the same time Cian told me he was looking for a really good horse, a freak, for the Europeans the following year and with the potential for the Olympic Games in Rio. I said I would keep my eyes open, but of course that it would be difficult as everybody is kind of looking for the same,” Abdel laughs. “It was not like we were alone in looking for something special.”

At the end of October 2014, Abdel was at Sentower Park and had circled off two horses on the start list that he wanted to watch in the Grand Prix with Cian in mind – Good Luck was one of them. “He jumped unreal, going so high!” Abdel tells. “Of course, after the class people were running after his owner and also after Patrice for the horse. I don’t know why, but somehow I got the option to try Good Luck with Cian. We had to move our asses though, because we were given a short time-frame of course. So straight after Lyon the following weekend we got in the car and went to try him. I think it’s one of the fastest sale processes I have been a part of: Cian tried him Monday, vetted him Tuesday, paid him Wednesday and by Thursday I believe he went to his stable. We did not mess around, we knew we had to act fast!”

“It has been amazing to follow Cian and Good Luck, they progressed so fast together,” Abdel says. “The year after Cian got him, they jumped at the Europeans and now when you look back at this year it has been unbelievable. And, my feeling tells me the best is yet to come from this horse.”

“I think the reason they clicked so well is that they are both determined, and they are both fighters. Also, Cian really loves the horse – they have a really special connection,” Abdel says. “It’s something special, like what Eric Lamaze had with Hickstead or Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum with Shutterfly. It’s that kind of partnership.”

Watch Good Luck compete with Fabrice Galdini as a 7-year-old:

 


Text © World of Showjumping by Jannicke Naustdal // Pictures © Jenny Abrahamsson

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