Featured Rider - Leslie Law
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Leslie Law (Part 1 of a 4 Part Series)Mystere du Val; 17.0 h.h. Selle Francais Gelding, 2000
Owner: Guy & Beatrice Rey-Herme
The summer of 2009 was fruitful for Leslie and Bean. In July they were first at Intermediate at Loch Moy Farm (MD). In August, Leslie piloted Bean to a 3rd place finish at Advanced at the Millbrook (NY) Horse Trials and a win at the CIC*** at Richland Park (MI). In October, at the American Eventing Championships (IL), Bean and Leslie finished 1st in the Advanced Division.
When Leslie was asked to be a featured rider for Rolex this year he was honoured and of course readily accepted. In readily accepting he was naturally readily volunteering me to do the writing as, for the many great things Leslie does, writing ainít one of them! I spent many a year in college writing for various professors and publications so Iíve just dusted off my pen and am pleased to chronicle Leslie and ĎBeanísí journey to Rolex success.
Leslieís partner for Rolex is Guy and Beatrice Rey-Hermeís Mystere du Val; aka ĎBeaní. A 17hh, 10 year old Selle FranÁais gelding, ĎBeanísí name is appropriate as he does somewhat resemble a string legume. All legs, neck and ears, Bean is the greyhound of the barn ~ flighty, skinny and alert at all times he is a quirky yet very lovable character. Their partnership together started just over two years ago and since then they have racked up an impressive list of accomplishments including many a three star CIC win, top CCI finishes, 2009 horse of the year and the 2009 gold cup victors. It hasnít been all roses however as just like many an exceptional horse or person, Bean is an eccentric. He is incredibly spooky and more than once in the early days would break from a lengthen trot to a full out gallop in the dressage ring or go from a Ĺ pass right to an exit stage right. That said, he has become a very impressive dressage horse now. Leslie has him exceptionally well trained and it often shows in their marks. He has also become a consistent show jumper with many clear rounds to his name. His one hole would be that mixed among his impressive French and thoroughbred bloodlines is a bit of poultry pedigree. Bean can Ďbrockí on occasion. Who knows why this is, it may be that he was pushed a bit too far too soon in his previous life or perhaps he was just born that way, or like the Grinch perhaps his socks were too tight, but regardless he is what he is and Leslieís had to adapt to it ~ to try to give him courage when he needs it, praise him when he is brave and to plan his show season accordingly to try to build Beanís confidence to a peak just at the right time. Although often things can go wrong when dealing with horses, when everything goes to plan this pair is unbeatable and I guess that is more than most can say.
The first part of having success at Rolex is getting there. In order to prepare for Rolex Leslie has decided to enter Ocala Horse Park in February at the Intermediate level, Pine Top Advanced, Poplar Place Advanced and the Fork. He picked those events because of their increasing difficulty, their perfect timing on the calendar, and they are all great galloping courses which should suit Bean to a ĎTí and make him increasingly more confident as he nears the Three Day.
Picking the right shows is one part of his equation to get there. Another big part will be Beanís conditioning. The fitter he is, the better he runs xc so Leslie has to find a way to have Bean at his optimum fitness level which when based in flat Florida is not always the easiest to figure out. The final part of the journey is surrounding himself with a good support group. Unless you have nothing else to do in life other than worry about your four star horse there is no way you can get to a big event on your own. We have about twenty-one horses in work right now and Leslie teaches on average five lessons a day, rides five a day and teaches one to two clinics a month. He relies on our excellent girls to keep their eyes open for any scratches and blemishes, to make sure he behaves on turnout, to keep an eye on his over-all condition and to do his fitness work when we are away. We also rely on our fabulous blacksmith Brian Leith and vet, Christiana Ober, to help guide us in the matters we are not skilled, to come when we need them, and to allow us to trust them implicitly. As for my job, I watch Leslie ride almost every day. Although there is little I could teach him, I know a 6 from a 7, a 7 from a 9. I can remind him when his shoulders get too forward at a jump and tell him to relax when he gets frustrated. Even the best need eyes on the floor and Iíve watched so much over the years I have a fairly good eye. The flip side to my job is to be the one to hang out with our little 2 month old Liam when he wants to party at 3 am so that Leslie can kinda sleep, to be at the events the loudest cheerleader when things go well and his quietest sympathetic ear when they donít.
If we can all do our jobs the only thing left for us to do is slaughter a goat every third Monday! All kidding aside we know however hard you work and smart you plan an awful lot of luck comes into it. It only takes one slip, one bad step, one obscure virus and poof itís all gone which is why I pray our son takes to soccer balls and not ponies so he doesnít ever have to work in the frustration and heartache his parents do!
I absolutely hope this comes off for Leslie as he truly deserves it. There are an awful lot of good riders in this country but you wonít find anyone who works harder than the Ďieí. I have him chained to our arena from 7am to 7pm unless heís off doing clinics and if youíve ever seen our house or car you know he ainít doing it for the money. He does it because he loves the horses, the sport and he likes helping others improve. He left a country where he had 6-10 upper level horses and many many sponsors to come to a country of no owners and no sponsors just so I wouldnít have to leave my home continent. Every day he works to put a smile on other peoplesí faces by helping them have success with their horses and having success with his is what makes him smile so I hope that finally something great happens for him.
Lesley Law for Leslie Law