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From youngster to international Grand Prix horse: Arkuga

Wednesday, 23 September 2020
From youngster to international Grand Prix horse

Photo © Eva van den Adel “Like his parents, Arkuga loves his job and that makes your life a whole lot easier as a rider,” Laura says. Photo © Eva van den Adel.


Text © World of Showjumping



Earlier this month, Laura Renwick’s 9-year-old Arkuga impressed everyone when winning both the world ranking class and the Grand Prix during the same weekend at Peelbergen Equestrian Centre in The Netherlands. A winner through and through, Arkuga has inherited the best from both his mother – Laura’s former super-mare Beluga (Heartbreaker x Darnels) – and father – Nick Skelton’s legendary Arko III (Argentinus x Beach Boy).  

Arkuga is home-bred by Laura and her husband John, who run a quality breeding program from their home in Essex, Great Britain, with four to five foals being welcomed every year. “Arkuga is the result of an embryo that we took from Beluga back when she was 10,” Laura explains. “As Beluga was very small and had a lot of blood, we chose Arko for her – he had all the ability and scope in the world.”

“Beluga was such a winner, a little freak! We found her at Guido Bruynickx’s yard when she was a 3-year-old and did not pay much for her. While she was tiny, she jumped incredible!” Laura recalls. “Already from a young age she turned out to be such a winner, and topped the British Championships for 4-, 5- and 6-year-old horses. She was also second in both the 5- and 6-year-old finals at the Sunshine Tour. The year after, she won every 7-year-old class at the Sunshine Tour – as well as the final.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping “Beluga was such a winner, a little freak!" Laura tells about Arkuga's mother. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Beluga had an incredible brain,” Laura says. “She had so much belief in herself and was such a fighter. On top, she had a great front-leg technique. It seemed like a good idea to cross those qualities with all of Arko’s.”

“In breeding, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t – but in this case it did,” Laura laughs. “Arkuga has inherited his mother’s mind: He is clever, competitive and learns quickly. They are similar in many ways although he is completely his own horse. He has a great character, is a bit cheeky – but very friendly. You might say he has gotten a bit spoiled though… He knows he is special, so he thinks he can do what he likes and in a way he can! He’ll knock on his door for treats and tear anything outside his box down to get attention!”

“I think Arko really stamped him, and Arkuga certainly has his father’s looks – his head and his neck. You can take one look at him and tell who his father is,” Laura smiles. 

“We started Arkuga up ourselves, and as a 4- and 5-year-old he was ridden by Emily Mason who used to work for us at the time,” Laura explains. “We did not do much with him back then though, as he did everything very easy. It was first when he was six that I started competing him. Last year, when he was eight, he won his first world ranking class.”

Photo © Eva van den Adel "You can take one look at him and tell who his father is,” Laura says about Arko's son Arkuga. Photo © Eva van den Adel.

“Arkuga was very intelligent,” Emily Mason recalls about the gelding as a youngster. “From the beginning, he showed very good quality. Had a cheeky side to him and was very feisty – just like his mother Beluga. He always thought he knew best! It’s great to see him doing so well now.” 

“Like his parents, Arkuga loves his job and that makes your life a whole lot easier as a rider,” Laura says. “He always wants to work with me and waits for what’s next. I do believe he has a chance in the bigger sport, he has all the credentials.” 

“To succeed with a horse as home-bred and as British as Arkuga has been very rewarding!” Laura smiles. “I’m used to getting my horses when they are young and then build them up myself, and it suits me. I think you get a really good connection with them this way,” Laura tells. 

“We also have an 8-year-old out of Beluga, by Diamant de Semilly – called Maverick. He is much more like his father though, and you would never guess that he is the brother of Arkuga. After Beluga retired, we have bred a 3-year-old by Cornet Obolensky from her as well as two 2-year-olds – one by Mylord Carthago and one by Top Dollar. We also have one yearling by Taloubet Z and a foal by Arko. And if they are only half as good as Arkuga, I’ll consider myself lucky!” Laura smiles. 


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