A Story of Love, Dedication, Knowledge, Strategy & Success
Some equestrian stories make our sport the most spectacular one among all, especially those that involve love, dedication, knowledge and strategy. It was no different just a few days ago at the CHIO of Aachen, as Babalou 41 once again earned many admirers in several occasions. The brilliant presentations under the saddle of Irish rider Darragh Kenny (IRL) included registering 4 clear rounds out of the six she competed in, all in just a span of five days.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Babalou 41 in the €1,000,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen
The highlights were a second place finish in the €200,000 Mercedes-Benz FEI Nations Cup CSIO 5* and a crowning moment by finishing fourth in the prestigious €1,000,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen CSI 5*, the second jewel of the Rolex of Grand Slam of Showjumping, the most important class in the world circuit.
The daughter of Balou du Rouet out of a mare by Silvio I, born in 2005, is a true “Popstar” of equestrian sports in several aspects. More than just a horse with the pop of few and the beauty that makes her a star, the mare brings together everything we want from a non-volunteer athlete, captivating everyone, especially those who live close to her in the village of Wellington, located in Florida, USA.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Babalou 41 at the CHIO of Aachen
It turns out that the mare was the buzz of the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen CSI 5* for her amazing recovery while attempting to overcome double. The 40,000 spectators present watched in amazement as she displayed extreme power and courage, the heart of a champion, successfully clearing what everyone thought would be impossible.
Strategy & Triumphant Return
After taking a strategic break from competition, the return to the rings in 2018 was “surgically” planned. First, the task of establishing the conditions to fully exploit her potential, keeping in mind continuous development and milestones targeted. The first performances in Wellington in 2018 were only for “schooling” and the dynamic duo ended the season on a high note.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Babalou 41 – Winners of the $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m National Grand Prix at WEF.
They won the $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m National Grand Prix and placed second in the $132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 5* during the second half of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
With the brilliant results, both headed to Lexingon, Kentucky, where they recorded back-to-back victories, the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI 3* and the $131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI 3*, stamping their passport to Aachen.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Babalou 41 victorious at the LGCT of Saint Tropez CSI 5*
In Europe, they won the €62,400 CSI 5* class during the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) of Saint Tropez in France.
Love & Dedication
These major achievements are the result of the dedication of a group of people to the mare, her lucky fate being under the ownership of one of the most important veterinary surgeons in the world, Dr. Jack Snyder DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS, the unconditional love of Bibi Alvarado, responsible for the horses and upkeep of the Two Swans Farm.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Babalou 41 in one of their crowning moments at Aachen
Moreover, the Oldenburg’s development is under the responsibility and expertise of Joaquim “Guga” Malta de Abreu and the utmost care provided by her groom, Aoife Gibbons. Most importantly, it is the energy that spreads to everyone involved with the mare.
Expertise & Knowledge
It was in Aachen that the paths of Jack Snyder and Yuri Mansur’s (BRA) Vitiki crossed, when the latter suffered a fracture. Fortunately Dr. Jack Snyder was present at the site and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) requested his help due to his world-renowned expertise.
As a matter of fact, the list of Mr. Snyder’s professional accolades are endless, including 30 years of faculty services at UC Davis, Head Surgeon at the 24th Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea; President of the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky; USA and Hospital Director of the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, just to name a few.
Thus, the PhD surgeon ended up travelling to Belgium to successfully operate Vitiki and was back in time to watch Babalou 41 brilliant performance in the €1,000,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen CSI 5*.
Incredibly, the saga continues since Dr. Jack Snyder and his team are still writing their storylines in the sport, not only with Babalou 41, but also with horses that they raise, develop and commercialize at Two Swans Farm.
Actually, a new chapter is about to be begin since the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) – Tryon 2018 are less than a month away, one that will hopefully confirm Babalou’s participation not only there, but also serves as the first step along the journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
By Nuno Coelho Vicente in collaboration with Lo-Ami Souza