Stallion Profile : Forrest Gump

By: Horse Deals

Stallion Profile : Forrest Gump
Stallion Profile : Forrest Gump

In our series putting Britain’s performance sires under the spotlight, we meet the advanced dressage stallionForrest Gump.

Forrest Gump was purchased at the 2004 Westphalian Elite auction as a three-year-old. The following year, he was third at his grading in Germany, scoring 9.13 (for rideability), 8.8 (temperament), 8.04 (trot), 7.81 (canter), 8.44 (walk) and 7.5 (jumping).
Partnered by his co-owner, Danish international rider Mette Assouline, Forrest Gump has risen through the grades with ease, qualifying each year for the national championships from medium to prix st georges. He is currently training at grand prix level and competing in international small tour.

He’s just like the Forrest Gump character. Once he realises he can run, he’ll keep runningA rider / owner's view
Mette has enjoyed training "Forrest" since he first came to the Assoulines’ Essex yard four years ago.
"He came to me originally for schooling and to be sold, but I enjoyed him so much that I bought a half-share," says Mette, who co-owns the eye-catching stallion with local vet Marc Auerbach. "Not only is he beautiful, but his temperament, trainability, paces and ability to collect were outstanding, even as a young horse. These are all qualities you look for in a grand prix horse.
"Forrest never disappoints. In 2007, he was the reserve six-year-old international champion at Addington, which indicates that other trainers thought he had potential too."
Forrest is the only stallion at Assouline Dressage, but his personality and temperament make him an easy resident.

"You often forget he’s a stallion. He’s super to take to shows and doesn’t make a fuss," says Mette. "My nine-year-old daughter Megan often grooms him. He’s very polite and gentle with other horses as well as humans.
"He loves attention and work — he lets us know if he doesn’t get enough of either, although he enjoys being turned out and going in his playpen too! In the stable, he spends lots of time chatting and playing over the door with his neighbour [a five-year-old gelding]. It’s important for stallions to socialise with other horses and not keep them isolated."
Mette always looks forward riding Forrest.
"As a trainer, the highlights are our daily sessions, where he gives me so much pleasure and feeling of achievement," she says. "His best points are piaffe and passage, but there isn’t a grand prix movement where you feel he’s limited and, hopefully, more confidence at the level will prove that."
According to Mette, there are very few things this stallion dislikes, although he can be shy when it comes to audience appreciation.
"As a six-year-old Forrest had very few outings before he had to deal with the atmosphere at big shows like Hickstead and Addington. The clapping and cheering scared him a little," she says.

Forrest, who will pursue his international career this year, travels to Groombridge Stud in Cambridgeshire for semen collection.
"Sally Forster, who owns and runs the stud, is extremely knowledgeable and fantastic with stallions," says Mette. "His semen is collected throughout the competition season but we’re looking to freeze it this year to ensure continued availability."
According to Mette, Forrest’s offspring have inherited his outstanding temperament, willingness and conformation.
"In his grading, he scored well for his jumping, so there’s no doubt that they will inherit that ability and should go far in eventing and show jumping," she adds.

Although Forrest’s progeny are still young, there are already success stories, including a two-year-colt intended for the show ring. Another, Forrest Foxy Lady, out of an Irish Sport Horse, graded with a higher first premium for eventing and finished sixth in the young horse championships at Osberton last year.
At the age of 10, Forrest has already gathered a fan base and Mette is among his biggest supporters: "His temperament and ability are his forte. He’s so switched on and will go far, just like the Forrest Gump movie character. Once he realises he can run, he’ll keep running. He’s sweet and innocent and you can’t help loving him for that because he’ll do anything for you!