Gregoire Solente, a trainer based out of Del Mar, California, is one of many riders taking advantage of Blenheim EquiSport’s Young Hunter Program. The program provides discounted stall rates and free classes to competitors riding young and green horses, to help them gain valuable miles in the show ring without breaking their budgets. During the 2018 season, Solente has piloted Blackjack Farms’ Elegante through the six year old division. We caught up with him at Del Mar Horse Park to ask a few questions about his take on the Young Hunter series.
Trainer Name and Barn Name?
Gregoire Solente, and I have a training barn in Del Mar: Gregoire Solente Stables.
I am riding and showing this young horse owned by Blackjack Farm Imports. Robin Martinez is the trainer and owner.
Horse’s Show Name and Barn Name?
Show Name: Elegante
Barn Name: Guero
6 years old
Stanfour x Cantus
What quality attracted you to this young horse the most?
I love that he’s a big, grey horse with a beautiful slow rhythm at the canter and a big, big stride
How does Blenheim’s Young Hunter Series affect your horse’s development?
As a sales barn, you want to be able to show your horse and give him as much experience as you can for a lower cost. Bringing a young hunter or jumper along takes time, some learn fast, others will need patience, and more show miles before being ready for a junior or amateur to take over the reins.
The Blenheim Young Hunter Series allows us to gain valuable top-quality show experience at an affordable price. The series really helps us do that at the level the horses will be expected to show at with a junior or amateur.
What is the most rewarding aspect of bringing along a young horse?
To see them progressing with every ride, you feel like you’re doing a good job. If you have a bad day, it’s never the horses fault . Start over with your basics and understand what went wrong. Young horses really make you a better rider and a better horseman.
What is your favorite exercise for a young horse?
I like setting 2 poles, 68 feet apart. You can learn a lot about your horse with this exercise. Start cantering in 6 normal strides first, and teach your horse to increase his stride length. Do it in 5, or shorten his stride length and do in 7. It’s a good gymnastic exercise for both horse and rider. It does wonders for improving balance, rhythm, and pace. I do it all the time with my students as well as my horses.