At Home With Hester Deslauriers, In His Own Words

At Home With Hester Deslauriers, In His Own Words

Hello, Noëlle Floyd readers, and welcome to my life. My name is Hester Deslauriers, and I’m a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding with a teddy bear face and pony ears. I hear I’ve been getting a lot of press this summer for doing cool stuff with my mom, Lucy Deslauriers, but I’m just a regular boy from Bridgehampton, N.Y. I put my EquiFit boots on one leg at a time, just like you.

If you’ve read anything about my mom and me, you’ll know that we had a big year: we represented the U.S. on four senior Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ teams, jumped our first 1.70m track, and even went to our first Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. Now, I’m on a bit of a stay-cation here in the Hamptons for the next couple of months before I head south for the winter.

Photo by Lucy Deslauriers.

My day usually starts at 7 a.m. with breakfast hay and grain. I’m not one to hit snooze – it’s time to get up and see what this day has to offer! After I eat, someone cleans my stall and escorts me to the cross-ties where I’m either tacked up for my daily hack or I get ready for a hand walk.

Meet Daniel Michan Halbinger's mare with scope like you've never seen before.

Since we’re not showing for the rest of the year, I’m on a light exercise plan. Mom’s away at school at the University of Pennsylvania – I hear it’s rigorous – so her parents spend the most time with me these days. “Usually, my dad rides him every day. Now that he’s on a little bit of a break, he’s being ridden more like every other day,” my mom says. “My mom also will hack him when she’s out there on the weekends, take him on long trail rides, and just keep him outside and out of his stall – nothing too rigorous.”

Photo by Lucy Deslauriers.

After my morning workout, I get some hay for lunch. Sometimes I go for another walk in the afternoon before I get my pre-dinner hay at 3 p.m. Once I devour that, dinner is served at 4 p.m., and I am left to eat in peace. During show season, I get worked on by my chiropractor, Steve Engle. I think his wife is a big deal or something?

On my off days, I get to go outside and play. “We have to be a little bit careful, because he can be a little funny with the paddocks sometimes,” mom says about me. “As long as you keep a watchful eye on him, he can go out in the paddocks. He also just gets hand walked and grazed a lot.” I can get kind of bored when I’m not busy being a show horse, so my people work hard to keep me out of my stall as much as possible. Sometimes, they put me on the walker so my booty stays toned.

Photo by Sportfot.

Speaking of my booty: the only thing that’s bigger is my personality. “He expects every time you walk by his stall that you’re going to have a treat and that you’re going to say hi to him,” mom says. She’s right – what’s the point of talking to me if you don’t have anything concrete to offer? I’m not afraid to take matters into my own hands, though. “He knows where the treats are in the barn and will make a beeline for the bucket, stick his nose in, and get some self-service. He’s really special and he knows it.” Mrs. Pastures cookies are my favorite, and if I think you haven’t given me enough, I’ll just lead you to where they are in the barn.

Sit down with Hester's 'mom' Lucy and dive into her unexpected trajectory to the Nation's Cup Finals

Sure, I love cookies, but the real treat is being part of the Deslauriers family. Mom’s brother (does that make him my uncle?) isn’t a horse person but thinks I’m just the bee’s knees. “My brother – who actually doesn’t ride – loves Hester and will graze him. He doesn’t ride himself so he definitely doesn’t take out every horse and feel comfortable grazing them and things like that, but he loves spending time with Hester.”

Photo by Lucy Deslauriers.

Though I love human interaction, I’m not discerning when it comes to being social: I’m friendly with all species. “He’s actually quite friendly with other horses, especially the ones we've had for a long time, like my other horse, Hamlet. I would like to think that they’re buddies.” Every hour is social hour to me, and I’ll never shy away from a good conversation. “Even when I’m walking next to someone when I’m riding him, he’ll frequently just sort of look over, lean his nose towards the other horse, and stuff like that."

Photo by Sportfot.

This is Lucy’s first semester at school (and away from me!), and even though I know she misses me every single day, it’s important for her to get good grades and earn her degree so she can adequately provide for me. “When I get bored or stressed at school, I just look at pictures or videos of him all the time,” she says. I’m sort of a long distance emotional support animal.

I get tucked into bed at 8:30 p.m. and get a little more hay to keep my belly full through the night. I have sweet dreams of jumping clear with mom and can’t wait until we’re reunited in Florida.

Photo by Libby Law.

Feature photo by Tori Repole.

Written by Kate Kosnoff

Kate Kosnoff is an equestrian journalist, blogger and photographer. When she isn’t working, Kate can usually be found sipping green tea, scrolling through Twitter, or petting her horses—sometimes a combination of the three. She is based in Indiana and can often be spotted in jumper rings across the Midwest and Florida aboard her strawberry roan, Waffle.