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Future so bright: Caillan

Wednesday, 19 October 2022
Interview

Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz. “Caillan is just outstanding and I’m very impressed with him winning all the titles possible as a 7-year-old,” his rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson says. Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

When Caillan (Casall x Carry) won gold at the 2022 FEI WBFSH World Breeding Jumping Championship in Lanaken, Belgium, at the end of September, he was not only crowned the best 7-year-old in the world but also recorded his third prestigious title of the year. Earlier this season, Caillan won the ‘Landeschampionat’ in Holstein and then continued with a victory at the famed Bundeschampionat – the German championship for young horses. “He is just outstanding and I’m very impressed with him winning all the titles possible as a 7-year-old,” his rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson says. “Caillan grows with every new challenge. The final in Lanaken was to compare to a CSI2* Grand Prix and he jumped it so easily."

"He is brave but sensible, extremely careful and takes care of himself.”

Bengtsson has been riding the gelding for about a year and took over the reins from Antonia Brinkop. “One day the owners called and asked if I wanted to try Caillan, and I was happy to since I thought he was an interesting horse. Antonia had done a really good job with him, but for me it was definitely not a wow straight away,” Bengtsson smiles. “Caillan had some poles down, which he hadn’t had the whole season – he got a bit confused with a new rider and a different way of riding. I really wasn’t sure about him, but we decided that he would stay for a while so I could try him out and I’m really glad we did!”

However, it didn’t take long before Bengtsson and Caillan had a good connection. “In the beginning, we had some problems with the b-element of the combinations since he jumps so far to the other side of the fences. But, it didn’t take long before he figured that out and he has jumped 22 clear rounds at international level this year. He is fast, alert and very quick thinking. After the fences I just have to follow him and he puts up the speed, I never have to push him in any way. Caillan is going from strength to strength all the time.”

Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz. "I really wasn’t sure about him, but we decided that he would stay for a while so I could try him out and I’m really glad we did!” Bengtsson says about his first ride on Caillan. Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz.

According to Bengtsson, Caillan is a horse with all the qualities he looks for in a horse. “He is a very pleasant horse, and at the same time very explosive – he is quick, has fast reactions but is also very ridable. It is not always so easy to do the warm-up though, since he reacts to every sound and he has a very strong flight instinct. To keep him calm, I have to stay very relaxed – but I really like horses like that.”

Caillan was born and raised on the island Föhr, in the north of Germany. With 140 hectares, the young horses have space enough the breeder and owner Gerd Ohlsen explains. “We have ten breeding mares; one of them is a dressage mare, the rest are jumping mares."

Unfortunately, Caillan’s mother couldn’t carry any foals herself, she got in foal but always lost them quite early.

"So, we did one embryo flush on her and got two embryos which resulted in Caillan and his full brother – that is now successful in the US. The brothers didn’t look the same at all though. Caillan was the small and bloody one, while his brother was much bigger,” Ohlsen tells. 

“As a two-year-old we let Caillan jump for the first time and already then you could see that he was something special. With some help, we made him ready for the stallion approval. On the day of the pre-selection, while Caillan was waiting in the trailer, another stallion came running behind and as electric as Caillan is, he reacted and injured himself. So instead of going to the pre-selection, we brought him back home. At the end we decided to castrate him, since he as a stallion was standing in his own way.”

Photo © Private collection. "Caillan’s mother couldn’t carry any foals herself, she got in foal but always lost them quite early. So, we did one embryo flush on her and got two embryos which resulted in Caillan and his full brother – that is now successful in the US," Ohlsen explains. Photo © Private collection.

Caillan was started up at Föhr, and then Antonia Brinkop took over the reins. “Antonia competed him in the young horse classes and did really well with him,” Ohlsen tells. “We took it very easy with him though, and every year he came back to us for a two-month break. As a 6-year-old, he did his first championship which was the ‘Landeschampionat’ in Holstein.”

“Then we heard from a friend that Rolf thought Caillan was interesting,” Ohlsen continues. “However, Rolf would never ask for a horse ridden by someone else, so we had to call him ourselves to ask. Rolf is one of the best riders in the world and he always takes his time with the horses. The two of them quickly found a great connection and we did not have to wait long for the success to follow.”

Ohlsen admits that there have been plenty of offers on Caillan after all his success. “Still, we would like to see Rolf continue to ride him."

They are just such a fantastic match, and we would like to have some more fun watching the two of them.

So, what’s next for this talented 7-year-old, we ask Bengtsson? “Caillan will first of all get a break from jumping and showing. Then we will see when he is ready to show again. A good thing with Caillan is that he doesn’t need that much training – he doesn’t jump much at home and we just focus on making him feel well and not too fresh. If we look further towards the future, I really hope I will be able to keep him. Obviously, the interest in the horse is huge and the pressure on the owners to perhaps sell is increasing. If they at one point would decide to sell, I hope I can find a sponsor that would enjoy securing Caillan so I can continue to ride him.”

 

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