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  • Writer's pictureCatie Staszak

A (Numeric) Ode to Balou Du Reventon


Harry Charles and Balou du Reventon at the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final. Photo by FEI/Richard Juilliart


At the top levels of the sport, it's not uncommon for horses to change hands. Quite the contrary: One could call it frequent, particularly in the year leading up to an Olympic Games, to meet eligibility requirements for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and National Federations. But it's rare to see a single horse achieve championship success with multiple riders.


Enter Balou du Reventon.


Over the weekend, the now 17-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Cornet Obolensky—Georgia, by Continue) finished ninth overall in the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Omaha (USA) with Harry Charles (GBR).


In a remarkable 11 seasons competing at the international level, Balou du Reventon has had five different riders. Three have brought him to championships, with Darragh Kenny (IRL) riding the stallion to team gold and bronze medals at the 2019 and 2018 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Finals, respectively.


Balou's consistency is exceptional, not only across multiple riders (with very different styles and programs), but also over a decade of top level competition and across venues and surfaces. Prixview broke down the numbers on one of the sport's very best:


BALOU DU REVENTON - CAREER RIDERS

RIDER

YEARS

STARTS

LEVEL ACHIEVED

Luibov Kochetova

2013-2017

114

CSI5*

Jorge Matte Capdevilla (CHI)

2018

13

CSI4*

Darragh Kenny (IRL)

2018-2020

73

CSI5*

Brian Moggre (USA)

2021-2022

54

CSI5*

Harry Charles (GBR)

2023

8

CSI5*

BALOU DU REVENTON - CAREER PERFORMANCE

RIDER

AVERAGE FAULTS

AVERAGE PLACING

Luibov Kochetova

3.48

18

Jorge Mate Capdeville (CHI)

2.45

21

Darragh Kenny (IRL)

2.58

18

Brian Moggre (USA)

4.57

19

Harry Charles (GBR)

2

17

BALOU DU REVENTON - PERFORMANCE BY YEAR (TOP 5)

YEAR

AVERAGE FAULTS

AVERAGE PLACING

STARTS

2021

2.28

14

32

2018

2.21

15

41

2019

2.63

17

35

2015

2.93

12.97

31

2014

3

18

30


Luibov Kochetova debuted Balou du Reventon at the international level in 2013, and she would keep the stallion in her string for five years (Together, they won a CSI4* Grand Prix in Wellington, FL). Jorge Matte Capdevilla rode and owned the horse briefly (clear in a CSI4* Grand Prix in Wellington) before he sold him to current owner Ann Thompson in May 2018. Under Thompson's ownership, Balou has competed under three riders, all of whom brought him to the Championship level (five championships, in total).


It's unfair to directly compare Balou's numbers with Charles to the data under Kenny and Moggre simply given the lack of starts compared to the other riders' respective years-long partnerships with the stallion. But it is impressive that of the two best years, numbers-wise, of Balou's career, one each was spent with Kenny and Moggre—three years apart. Balou was the 2021 USEF International Horse of the Year after jumping double-clear in the Nations Cup at Aachen and finishing second in the prestigious CSIO5* Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with Moggre. The pair also won the CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix at Sopot (POL) that year.


Those 2021 averages (2.28 faults, top 14 placing) are remarkably similar to the stallion's numbers with Kenny in 2018 (2.21 faults, top 15 placing). While Balou's averages rise slightly in 2019 (2.63 faults, top 17 placing), Kenny and Balou had their biggest wins that year, including the CSI5* LGCT Grand Prix of Chantilly and the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix of Knokke.



BALOU DU REVENTON - VENUE TYPE

Prixview Next Gen Data* (2020 to present)

AVERAGE FAULTS

AVERAGE PLACING

NUMBER OF STARTS

INDOORS

2

12

5

OUTDOORS

3.22

25

61

BALOU DU REVENTON - SURFACE

Prixview Next Gen Data* (2020 to present)

AVERAGE FAULTS

AVERAGE PLACING

NUMBER OF STARTS

SAND/FIBER MIX

3.4

26

53

GRASS

3.06

18

13

Balou has performed well across surfaces and venue types as well. It's impressive that in just eight starts with Charles, Balou boasts a top 10 finish in show jumping's most prestigious annual indoor championship—a venue type in which he, comparatively, lacks experience. The same could be said about grassy venues, as both grass and indoor arenas are less common in the U.S. than in Europe. While Balou has certainly campaigned across the globe, he has been based primarily out of the United States for the entirety of his international career. He was imported as a 6-year-old.


If you're looking for trends or any potential weakness, note this: All three of Balou's rails in the final two rounds of World Cup Finals' third phase (two rounds) came up front and off the right lead. Two of the three rails were at oxers, the other at a skinny vertical.


What Balou du Reventon continues to achieve is nothing short of remarkable. While it takes a skilled athlete to navigate the sport at this level, pairing with a stallion like this certainly gives a boost. The numbers speak for themselves.


Click here to explore the course data from the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final.









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