SUSSEX-based showjumper Greg Le Gear is currently enjoying his best competition year. He is one of only eight riders from across Britain to have been selected for the prestigious Step Up To Gold programme run by British Showjumping Association.
The scheme aim is to encourage and enable top calibre riders to reach Grand Prix level in show jumping.
Greg (30) rides an impressive stallion, El Thuder, owned by Melissa Wood and standing at Bellegrace Equine in Surrey. He combines competitions with his role as yard manager for international showjumper Shane Breen, based with Breen Equestrian Ltd at Hickstead showground.
There, Greg oversees the 42-strong team of horses, helps to produce youngsters, is a show rider and makes sure everything runs smoothly in the prestigious yard and at events.
Working with Breen Equestrian Ltd has provided him with invaluable opportunities to expand his experience. As well as being yard manager, he has been given the opportunity to compete internationally in age classes with young horses. He attributes his increasing successes to the opportunities he has been given by Shane and Chloe Breen at their top class yard at Hickstead.
He said: ” I really appreciate the opportunities I have been given here, which have led to me winning many classes from British Novice through to 1.30m Opens.” He also competed at Lummen International Horse Show this year.
Born near Limerick in Ireland, he started riding at a young age and was based with top showjumper Dennis Lynch in Germany for four years, travelling all over the world on the Global Champions tour.
There he had the opportunity to compete internationally in age classes with young horses, and also competed on one which had previously starred in the European Championships in Aachen. His earlier experience also included working at the famous Old Lodge Stud for Saudi Arabia’s Adnan Al-Baitony, looking after his horses and competing with his young horses too.
The Step up to Gold programme, for which he has been selected, is for established riders aged 20-35 years looking to make the move to 1.40m level plus in the Gold league.
With national and regional training days, one to one coaching and support, individual training programmes and a range of sport science workshops, there is a lot on offer for riders like Greg who are determined to go the extra mile.
Hundreds of eligible riders applied for the scheme, but only a few dozen made it through to the regional trial days, where Greg’s talents were recognised and he was one of the few selected- a distinctive achievement.
Lead coach Matt Lanni said: “It is aimed at riders wanting to become competitive at 1.40m level classes. We select just eight riders from across the country that we feel have the ability and commitment to make this step”.
Greg has established an impressive winning partnership with one of his key rides- El Thuder.with this striking 11-year-old stallion, originally produced by Brendon Stud.
After taking over the ride in May this year, the duo have won many classes together and Greg is hoping to move up to the next level with the help of the Step Up To Gold programme, having impressed selectors at the trials in October.
Meanwhile he is looking for a second horse to run alongside El Thuder, which would offer an owner the opportunity to promote a horse through the programme. Anyone interested should contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org
He has high praise for El Thuder, who combines top class competition with stallion work through artificial insemination, saying: “He is a top class competition horse with an excellent temperament, capable of producing outstanding progeny.”
El-Thuder’s stable name is Amarillo and Greg took over the ride back in May this year and the duo clicked from the outset. Amarillo is a Grade A silver disc stallion and has many successful progeny competing all over the country. Some of his babies are competing at 1.30 level and he has two approved stallion sons.
Amarillo is by By Thunder van de Zuuthoeve, in turn by the legendary sire Argentinus, ex a Larome/ Landgraaf mare. The fantastic modern pedigree is further endorsed with bloodlines including Nimmerdor and Gotthard.
Amarillo stamps all his offspring well and passes on his lovely, kind temperament. He had a busy covering season this year and will be standing at stud again in 2016 and will also be offering frozen semen too.
He represented Great Britain at the World Championships for Young Horses in Belgium in 2010 and was third in the Hickstead Speed Derby when he was only seven, and already has a graded son Lord Thuder competing in age classes internationally.
For more details about him contact Melissa Wood on 07515481431.
Meanwhile Greg is looking forward to more prestigious successes with him next season and continuing to make the most of the invaluable opportunities offered to him by Breen Equestrian.