Elusive is a familiar face on the show circuit, a Champion Show Hack, owned by Suzannah Welby. At home, he is known as Chalky, a 158cm black gelding by the magnificent Kilvington Scoundrel, who has sired multiple show ring superstars in his time. Chalky was bred by Vicky Smith, and then sold on as a three year old to his current owner. As a three year old he had his first taste of what it was like to compete at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show. He qualified to compete in the 2013 for the in-hand Cuddy Final where he placed fourth. As a three year old he also took the overall in-hand championship at the TSR summer show. If it’s one thing that has not eluded Elusive, its ribbons!
He came to Jo Bates as a 6 year old and in their first season together he took the Hack Championship at Horse of the Year Show, which also sent them forward to the Supreme Championship at HOYS. After winning the Large Hack section to qualify for the championship, his win was even more special as it came around the same time that his prolific sire was sadly lost to colic, aged 25. Together Jo and Elusive were crowned Hack Champions at the BSHA Championship Show which they would continue to hold the following (2017) season too.
If he even has a hint that there’s a camera around he seems to know! There are some horses who were born to love the ring; Chalky has such a presence about him, he’s charismatic, a showman, he loves an audience and believes everyone is there just to watch him! With Jo’s years of experience and success, alongside her daughter Holly, it’s no surprise they continue to produce champions. But a horse as special as Chalky has to have their own desire to win and perform, I asked them why they think Chalky has that winning edge:
“He is without doubt the most intelligent horse we have had on the yard. He would be a MENSA candidate! He absolutely loves the big occasion and loves showing everyone how beautiful and amazing he is. He loves a big crowd and being centre of attention! Once he is onside with you he will do anything for you but you have to earn his respect and trust. He absolutely adores Holly and me and he always wants to work with us. He always has a smile on his face from the moment we arrive on the yard till the moment we close the barn doors for bedtime.”
The titles and rosettes continued to flood in for the superstar year after year – he has manners to die for and gives such a fantastic ride to the judge. The Show Hack horse should be a pleasure to ride, light and soft in the contact with a smooth movement and a pointing toe - and Chalky knows his job inside out.
In 2017 he took not only the Champion Hack title at Royal Windsor, but also at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead and the British Show Horse Association Championship. They were also Reserve Supreme at the BSHA Championship. Time after time Chalky continues to impress. He retained his title at Royal Windsor the following year – giving a foot perfect performance in the main arena. Over shadowed by Windsor Castle, the main arena is not just the stage for just showing royalty, but those who are familiar with the great horse show know it’s not unusual to see Her Majesty the Queen there too.
2018 proved just as successful for Jo and Suzannah Welby’s Elusive as they claimed Champion Hack at the Hickstead Derby Meeting and their year concluded with a red ribbon in the HOYS Large Hack class, earning them a place in the Championship, where he was placed reserve.
At just ten years old, he’s earned himself the title of a champion show hack on many occasion at some of the most iconic shows in the country. He wears his browband like a crown, stands so tall and proud and you can’t help but admire him. He has a soft but eager expression drawn across his face, and an air of nobility about him.