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Through my eyes: Lucifer V

Thursday, 30 April 2020
Through my eyes

Photo © Sportfot "He is my happy pill and I don’t think words can describe how much I love him!" Pauline writes about Lucifer V. Photo © Sportfot.


by Lucifer’s groom Pauline Holmer



Nayel Nassar’s Lucifer V is a 14-year-old gelding by Lord Pezi x Grandeur owned by Evergate Stables. Lucifer has had lots of success in the sport, first with Hardin Towell and over the last two years with Nassar. With Nassar in the saddle, the versatile gelding has won everything from the CSI5* Longines Speed Challenge of New York to the CSI5* Longines Grand Prix of New York and the Olympic qualifier in Rabat – helping Team Egypt with a ticket to Tokyo. 

Lucifer V is also known to be quite a character. Pauline Holmer – his groom – tells about the horse that went from being closed and hard to connect with, to stealing her heart. 



Photo © private collection Lucifer V. Photo © private collection.

“The first time I met Lucifer, Nayel had just started riding him and I did not like him at all. You put a hand on him, his ears would go straight back, and he would threaten to bite you. 

When he was ridden, he was more often on two legs than on all four. I remember one of the first trainings Nayel and Lucifer were supposed to have with Rob Hoekstra: After five minutes, Rob came back into the stable and asked if I could get another horse ready because Lucifer wouldn’t move a centimetre.  

To begin with, Lucifer was so closed and so hard to connect with. Whatever you wanted him to do, he would do the opposite. At this time, we only had two horses – so I had a lot of time on my hands. I said to myself ‘we are going to be friends.’ I would sit in his stall for hours…. After a while he got curious about me, and a couple of days later he welcomed me into his world. 

From that point, Lucifer was another horse. I got to know him, and he started trusting me. Now, he tells me exactly what he wants and I will do it for him. 

Photo © private collection Lucifer loves his paddock time, and only gets ridden after being out first. Photo © private collection.

Lucifer always wears his heart on his sleeve, so if you just learn his language he is actually very easy to read. Paddock time is one example: He used to go out after he was ridden, but I noticed he was so much easier to handle after his paddock time. Now he only gets ridden after the paddock, and this simple change made him so much easier to ride. Many times, I had to put him in the paddock almost before the sun was up so he would be out before leaving for the show. 

My other rule for him (and I’m not sure the other grooms will like this) is that as long it’s not dangerous, hurts people or other horses, I’ll let him do whatever he wants. If you would see us walking at the show, he pulls me in every direction possible and I’m half running behind him. The other grooms are probably whispering “look at that girl, she has no control over her horse,” “that horse is rude,” or “he should listen more” – but I let him. He has to be the boss. Lucifer won so much for us, and the least I can give him back is the freedom to do what he likes. 

Photo © private collection Lucifer also loves to escape and get an extra snack. Photo © private collection.

Another thing Lucifer loves is to escape. Last year in Florida when I had my own barn, I always left his door unlocked during night check and he would sneak out. His eyes would sparkle with happiness over his escape and then he walked around in the barn giving all the other horses scratches. When it was time for mash and mix dinner, he would go back in his box by himself and playtime was over. He still escapes sometimes when you put the blanket on, but I never get worried – he will just put his head into another box to chat or go and find food. 

Lucifer really likes trail rides, too. When we are in Belgium, we have a big forest next to the farm and Lucifer gets so happy when we go there – especially when we are going with his best friend Cas 2, one of Harrie Smolders’s horses. As soon as we walk into the woods he won’t stop bucking until we are back home. Luckily, I know he would never buck me off. If I ever get loose on his back – for example when he decided to do a capriole when walking downhill – Lucifer would immediately stop and make sure I’m okay. After making sure I am okay, he would start bucking again. 

Photo © private collection Another favourite activity is trail riding with best friend Cas 2. Photo © private collection.

If you talk to people that have known him for many years, they will tell you that he has always been a troublemaker, always playing and wants attention all the time. I believe that nowadays I give him plenty of attention, so he doesn’t have to make a scene anymore. By now, he is good with everything – the only thing that still makes him very upset is clipping. I always need an extra person to help me, that person’s job is to feed him with so many carrots that his mouth is full so he can’t bite me! 

As much as he likes to play, Lucifer is always up for the shows. Even after a long five-day drive from Morocco, he was still cantering up on the ramp of the truck the next time. He loves the attention at the shows, and he know the routines. He knows when the Grand Prix is coming up, and will himself make sure that he is rested and ready to go! 

One funny memory that I still start laughing about is from the Longines Masters of Paris last year. Lucifer was bored with Nayel, who never got off him after the class, so he decided to roll with Nayel still in the saddle! He knew he had a good round, and had treats waiting for him back in the barn.  

This horse always makes you laugh. He is my happy pill and I don’t think words can describe how much I love him. Every morning when I walk into the stable, he will be neighing at me, giving me kisses and all my worries are gone!”


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