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Close-Up: Don VHP Z

Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Close-Up

In this Close-Up, we zoom in on Harrie Smolder’s 13-year-old stallion Don VHP Z (Diamant de Semilly x Voltaire). The liver chestnut is owned by Copernicus Stables LLC, and has been ridden by Smolder since April 2014. The two have been delivering one top result after the other, and recently they were 2nd in the LGCT Grand Prix of Hamburg.

WoSJ had a chat to Don VHP Z’s groom Alex Tyler-Morris to learn more about the beautiful stallion, and discover that he is a real character. “In the box he's quite relaxed and likes to have a sleep after it has been cleaned while he lies down eating hay," Alex tells. "He loves to be scratched, which when you are brushing him can make things a little difficult as in if you find the right spot he will keep moving around to try and keep you brushing in the same place. He loves being scratched on the head, especially by dogs. He'll actually put his head down to them so they can lick his face. If your stood in front of his box not giving him any attention he will give the door a good solid kick with his front foot so you don't forget about him, normally meaning he wants a carrot or a scratch,” Alex laughs. 

Don has a very special routine with his water bucket. “I don't no why, but normally when you give him a fresh bucket of water he will put his whole face in the bucket but seeing as his head is so big, like the rest of him, half the bucket normally goes on the floor,” Alex continues.  

“When you tack him up for the class he's quite relaxed, until he sees the bridle. As soon as I start to put the bridle on he gets quite excited which normal means it takes a bit of time to get it on as there's no chance of him standing still. Out of the box he definitely knows he's a stallion and he makes sure everybody else does as well. I do have to be careful with him and aware where other people are and normally I'll just try and find a corner to stand in, out of the way. He can be quite a handful at times as a stallion, but also just because he's so big. I enjoy taking care of him and have to say he is one of my favorites.”

“But, if he continues jumping as many clears as he does I can deal with him being a bit of a handful!” Alex finishes off. 

All photos (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

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