In his early teens Louis Bouton is still unsure of how far he’ll gallop in the world of horse racing. But if he were to someday consider making a profession out of what he currently fancies as a hobby, there’s no telling how far the 14yo could go. The crowd present definitely felt they saw something special when France’s Bouton crossed the finish ahead of the rest in the Sheikha Latifa bint Mansoor Al Nahyan International Ponies race grand finale on the back of K Jack. In second place was Romania’s Evan Nichols, who rode Onyx, while third place was filled by New Zealand rider Charlotte New, who rode Kulla. Kids from around the world won their respective national heats to be part of the grand finale, the entry in the Abu Dhabi race earning their families an all expenses paid trip to the UAE.
Louis is the current Ponies Champion Rider in France and even though his father Freddy was thrilled to watch his son storm past the finish, he said he would leave it up to Louis to decide on whether or not he would like to pursue a career as a race jockey. “He is a very talented rider and you can see that in the way he rode and won today,” said Freddy, who work rides harness racing horses in France and is otherwise an optician by profession. “I am an optician and I ride for pleasure; I work ride trotting horses during the weekend and he came with me to the stables. “Louis loves following the gallops and is there at least twice a week. He started loving horses from coming with me to the racetrack regularly and that’s how his interest in riding started to peak and he wanted to try it out.
“Clearly he seems to like it and is winning nicely so that’s a good thing for him. Right now he loves to ride and he must see what he really wants to do, but he is a talented kid.” The Boutons live close to the western French city of Rennes which is about two hours from Paris. Louis has been riding for nearly four years having started at the age of ten. Speaking of the race, the teenager said: “It was a good race and I had the good fortune of sitting on a very good horse who went fast and it was a comfortable victory in the end. “I love to ride horses; it’s something that I really enjoy, that’s what makes me want to get on top and try and win every time.”
His father Freddy, 43, added: “It is a very proud moment for us as parents to see our kids doing well and winning such important races and I would like to thank the organisers of the Sheikh Mansoor Festival for encouraging kids to take up riding and equestrian sport. “He won the ponies championship in France and that allowed him to come here to participate in this race. This is the first time he’s come to Abu Dhabi and he’s won.”