Moroccan Grand Prix rider Ismail Jilaoui lost his recently retired Grand Prix horse What a Feeling on 1 May 2022.
What a Feeling was a Hanoverian gelding by Worldy out of Arabella (by A Jungle Prince x Landadel x Bariton). He was bred by Matilde Wrede.
Initially owned by German Claus Wohlers, the bay gelding sold to the Jilaoui family for Ismail to ride as a 3.5 year old.
Originally from Casablanca, Ismail has been based with his horse in Portugal, Belgium and France the past decade.
The pair made its international show debut at small tour level in February 2014 at the CDI Vidauban and moved up to Medium and big tour tour level in 2015. Between 2015 and 2017 they competed at numerous CDI's in Le Mans, Roosendaal, Nice, Jerez, Saumur, Valencia, Lipica, Pompadour, Deauville, and Stuttgart.
In those years he trained by Alexandre Ayache, and Arnaud and Anne Sophie Serre.
Under the tutelage of Daniel Pinto and Kyra Kyrklund, the pair shifted gears in 2018 and qualified for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, where they 61st in the Grand Prix with 65.435%.
In 2019 campaigned extensively at CDI's in Sevilla, Cascais, Abrantes, Alter do Chao, Lipica, Ornago, Fot and Nice.
In 2019 Jilaoui and What a Feeling unlocked the individual starting slot at the Tokyo Olympics for Group 3 (Africa and Middle East).
In the 2020 corona year, Jilaoui was based in Belgium and did two internationals in between lockdowns, one in June in Mariakalnok (GP score 63.217%) and one in October in Ornago (GP score 65.065).
Jilaoui did not compete What a Feeling in 2021, so failed to achieved the Minimum Eligibility Requirement for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The slot went to country mate Yessin Rahmouni and Jilaoui retired his horse from competition sport in June last year.
In September 2021, Jiloaui relocated his business and horses back to France, to stable Bo Regard at Romans sur Isere near Valence, but that was only temporary as the rider resettled at his new stable Casa Nostra in Marches just two weeks ago.
Yesterday the 18-year old What a Feeling passed away.
"My heart horse went to sleep yesterday and leaves behind a great void," Ismail wrote. "He charged 15 years of my life in which we experienced unforgettable moments. Aachen, WEG, the Tokyo qualification and not to forget our victory at the CDI Seville and many other wonderful memories. I will miss my friend greatly."
Jilaoui will continue his sport career with horses such as Mrs Abkari-Delacre's Lusitano cross-bred Bonaparte de Massa (by Maestro x Munchhausen) and his own 7-year old Hanoverian bred Don Amour du Hans (by Don Index x Dauphin).
Photos © Astrid Appels
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