If Hello M’Lady hadn’t come across Scott Brash’s radar, chances are that she would have become something great. But in the hands of the world’s number one rider, the 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare [Indoctro x Baloubet du Rouet] is earning the kind of star power that is second to none.
Born as “Gwindiline” on March 18th, 2006, Hello M’Lady was bred by Jan Aegten of Bocholt, Belgium, and started by Joris Aegen, who rode her for the first two years of her career. As a five year old, Hello M’Lady was sold to Picobello Horses, and ridden by Guillaume Ruant. It was at the end of her six-year-old year that Great Britain’s Brash spotted her with Ruant at GCT Chantilly, and she soon became a “Hello” horse, owned by Brash’s sponsors Lord and Lady Kirkham, and christened with the name Hello M’Lady.
Since then, Brash has been quietly campaigning her, making mention of her when asked about the horses in his string that showed promise, but otherwise flying under the radar with the quick bay mare. Until now, that is. With their win on June 28th of the Longines Grand Prix of Monaco CSI5* under the lights in Monte Carlo, everyone is now talking about Hello M’Lady, who at just nine years old is proving herself to be a worthy successor to Brash’s Olympic champion, Hello Sanctos. Read on:
Q: What caught your eye about Hello M’Lady?
A: I saw her first as a six-year-old when she was in Chantilly. I just thought she looked a very good horse. She was clear and placed every day – she was just careful and a fighter. and then I kept my eye on her and when she had just turned seven we went and tried her and we bought her. I think they done a very good job producing her, she’s a very talented mare. I’ve just tried producing her as best I can and she’s ready to do the grand prixs now.
I think that she’s just a wonderful horse, she’s a really, really top horse. She’s always been like that for the last two years, it’s not like she’s suddenly become a top horse. She always jumped very spectacular and she’s so good.
Q: Can you speak a little to her personality, and her quirks in the barn?
A: She’s a clever horse, she’s got quite a sharp way about her. She’s very talented, and just very good to be around.
Q: She’s seen a lot of big environments now, Olympia, Paris, Shanghai, Monaco. What do you do to get her, and all your horses, comfortable with these atmospheres?
A: It just takes time. You have to slowly introduce them to everything and not put pressure on them. She went to a lot of the global shows when she was eight, and jumped the second classes. She jumped around and I tried to produce her slowly and say that she got around in all the rings. She really enjoys jumping and that makes life easier.
Q: She’s only nine and jumping these 5* GPs, what makes her ready in your book?
A: She just feels comfortable. She’s brave and she has all the ability for it. You just know it, and you can feel it when the horse is ready.
Q: In the grand prix at St. Tropez on June 6th, you were leading the jumpoff with Hello M’Lady, but a miss at the double combination ended up in a dramatic crashing of rails. You then pulled up, went back and schooled through the double to finish 12th. Why did you pull up and use that as a training moment?
A: I think it was just most important to regroup in order to give her more confidence. It was better to jump the double again and jump it clean, rather than running through to the last fence. Going through it again, it didn’t phase her, so I was happy to I’d done it.
Q: What did you do training wise, to bring her back to such success, just three weeks after St. Tropez?
A: As far as training goes, it just depends on the horse, it depends on if you’ve had a problem and what the horses programs are at home.
Each horse is different, but with all of them, I don’t jump them much at home.
So [after St. Tropez], I just jumped a few doubles and combinations until she felt comfortable, and then we went to Monaco.
Q: The “Hello” name that all of your horses have, what’s the significance behind that?
A: The owners, Lord and Lady Kirkham and Lady Harris, they called a horse way back at the start Hello Max, I think it was, and they just liked the ring of it. There’s no real meaning to it other than that they liked it, and decided to use it with all the horses they own.
Q: What’s Hello M’Lady doing this week, and where will she compete next?
A: She’s resting now, with a few weeks completely off showing, and then she’ll go to [the Global Champions Tour] Chantilly.