STILL RARING TO GO
Brilliant though Kristy and Du Soleil’s scores were, there was always a feeling that perhaps the chestnut rocket could have marked a little higher. “I do believe, honestly, that he was never marked accordingly to the way he went,” says Kristy as she reflects on the horse’s career.
She points out that like any horse he had his weaknesses, but the things he did well were exceptional. “He has amazing trot half-passes, and his extended trot… I was always trying to get a nine for his extended trot and I believe there wasn’t a horse out there that had an extended trot like him. He had the ground coverage, he had the length of rein, he had an amazing hind leg; however, if I was getting an eight or an eight-and-a-half, I was going well. Very rarely did he get a nine. He also has the most beautiful, controlled pirouettes; I always had six to eight strides, they were small, he sat. He just didn’t get the marks. I accepted it in the end.”
Marks aside, Kristy looks back on their partnership with immense pride. “Every show was fabulous with Düse because he’s such an honest horse and never wanted to do anything wrong. If I had a mistake, there was always a reason. Otherwise, he was absolutely perfect,” she says.
Kristy explains that Düse loves his work, and throughout his career was always ready to go each day. “After Wiesbaden he was raring to go in the box again and seriously wanting to be worked and out in training… we put him straight out in the paddock and he was like, ‘oh yeah, this is great’. And then after one day he was like, ‘okay, when are you coming to ride me?’ It was like, ‘no Düse, look, you can have a bit of a break now’.”
Kristy explains that life won’t really change too much for him; he’ll go out in the paddock, but he’ll still be ridden most days. The only change is he won’t be going to competitions. “He still has his king status at the stables!” she laughs.
“Rosie has ridden him in the past; when I had my two back operations in 2020, she rode him most of the time when I was out. He’s a little bit of a handful for her; when she used to ride Ronan, he was like, ‘oh, I’m going to take care of her’. But Düse is like, ‘you need to really ride me or don’t ride me at all’. They’re not really the best of friends, he’s seriously my horse!”
Düse may be retired, but Kristy is not short of competition horses. Her latest Grand Prix horse, Rosenlorbeer – an 11-year-old Oldenburger gelding by Romanov out of a Welt Hit II (Weltmeyer) mare – has competed twice at FEI Grand Prix level, scoring 67.978% at Wiesbaden.
“He’s a lot like Düse in a way,” says Kristy. “He’s very enthusiastic. He’s also a hot horse, but then also has an inner calmness, which Düse didn’t have. He could do nothing when I got him as an eight-year-old. It’s been a long but also quick journey in a way to get him up to Grand Prix. In the two and a half years I’ve had him, he was also very sick as he had EHV (equine herpesvirus) and was out for six months.” Kristy and Rosenlorbeer were recently named on Equestrian Australia’s FEI nominated entries list of eight combinations for the upcoming FEI World Championships.