The sensitive chestnut gelding Chesall Zimequest is easily one of the sensations of 2016. He is just 11-years-old and according to his rider, still short on experience, but despite a very slight lack in mileage, the Holsteiner by Casall ASK x Concerto II picked up a dozen FEI victories during the 2016 season. With every ribbon and victory gallop, France’s Simon Delestre seemed to smile wider as he spoke about his talented mount that is owned by Benoit Zimmerman.
From Shanghai to St. Tropez, Rome to Madrid, and Paris to Belgium, Chesall Zimequest seems to only get better with each round. Delestre had plenty of opportunities this year to speak about the horse that started out as an overly sensitive, nervous type that wasn’t confident in himself. At one point, when he was told that Chesall was leading the World Breeding for Sport Horses/Rolex World Ranking, he was surprised. But when the 2016 WBFSH/Rolex World Rankings closed for the year at the end of September—with Chesall Zimequest still leading to now officially earn the title of best horse of the year—Delestre surely is aware that he’s aboard quite the special mount, both on paper and on form.
- When we started with the big fences, he didn’t know he could jump them. He had the scope, but he was really afraid.
- After six months, he really started to give me a little bit of confidence. He needed to go from show to show to get more relaxed and confident.
- At the Athina Onassis Horse Show in St. Tropez this year we won two classes, but until Knokke CSI3* in July, I had never won three main classes with the same horse on the same show before!
- In the stable, he is gentle, and when [his groom] Marine is around, he is like a puppy, and she can do everything around him with no problem.
- I cannot put normal protection [on his legs] behind because he is too sensitive, he has a crazy reaction. First, when I started with him, I put normal young horse protection on him, but he was directly jumping higher than normal. Then I take it off, but he is always touching himself, so I find a way like that [with soft polos and a wrap high up on his front leg]. Ok, at this time maybe it is not necessary, but I don’t want to change it!
- He’s very very sound and strong in his body, and ok, the more he jumps, the better he is. We do shows in a row for maybe one month, and then he has a long break. He is the best like this.
- For the future, it’s difficult to say, he’s jumping so good now. I think he can really grow as a real real crack. He’s already a real crack.
- Maybe he can grow as a real championship horse. He’s really on the way because he’s only 11, but he has not so much experience. But maybe for the WEG in two years, he will be ready.
- He only went onto the high level like this in one year. It’s not so common for horses to do that. But he is jumping everything so easy, I can expect the best from him. For me, he is the horse for the future.