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How Light My Fire became an unexpected champion hunter

Langley rider Ashley Arnoldt tells their story
Langley’s Ashley Arnoldt and Light My Fire will defend their Canadian Hunter Derby Series title this season at Thunderbird Show Park. (tbird/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Watch for Langley rider Ashley Arnoldt and Light My Fire as they look to defend their Canadian Hunter Derby Series title this season at Thunderbird Show Park – that is, when the laid-back stallion isn’t napping ringside.

Arnoldt calls him “just Lennie.”

“He loves to nap,” she said. “He’s just so quiet and chill and awesome.”

Arndolt and Light My Fire have won the Canadian Hunter Derby and Western Derby series championships every year since 2021.

When Arnoldt first watched a video of Light My Fire, the 2012 Hanoverian stallion was in Germany, competing in the 1.40-metre division.

Arnoldt was initially impressed by his scope, jumping form, and rideability.

“A big thing that kind of drew me to him was that he’s partially related to [my U25 jumper] Lestat OLD through Lordano, and he’s also a three-quarter brother to Los Angeles, a stallion that sired a lot of nice hunters in the U.S.”

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The Arnoldts imported the horse with the intention that he’d be Ashley’s next Grand Prix mount and a breeding stallion for their family-run Dreamscape Farm in Langley.

But plans with horses are always subject to change.

In their first show together, Arnoldt and Light My Fire contested a 1.35m class at tbird and finished in third place.

The following week, they were in the hunter ring – winning.

“He was very successful that first week in the jumpers. He was just a bit slow. So we thought that maybe we should try him in the hunter ring,” explained Arnoldt.

The pair made their hunter debut the following week and were champions in the Amateur Owner 3’6” division at tbird, winning five of six classes.

Two weeks later, they swept the Performance Hunter and Low Hunter divisions at Langley’s Milner Downs, then started making rounds in the derbies.

“That’s kind of how he became my Hunter Derby horse, because it just it clicked, and we knew he liked it, so we stuck to it.”

Tbird’s April Season Opener began April 15, kicking off 10 weeks of competition in Langley through to September, highlighted by five weeks of international competition, including the CSI5*/CSI2* Canadian Premier, May 22 to 26.

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