They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But that might not be true for show jumpers.

It’s certainly not the case for 19-year-old Rokfeller Pleville Bois Margot.

This month, the Selle Français gelding under Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar is cresting one heck of a clear-round spree, virtually taking the 2024 Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) by storm.

Last weekend, he finished third in the LGCT Grand Prix of Ramatuelle/Saint Tropez. Two weeks earlier—and despite an uncharacteristic jump-off refusal—he earned a seventh place on home soil in the LGCT Grand Prix of Madrid.

A month before, Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller Pleville Bois Margot were third on the podium again at the LGCT Grand Prix Mexico City, fourth in April at LGCT Miami Beach, and eighth at LGCT Doha.

All of it has helped propel Alvarez Aznar to the top of the LGCT leaderboard, where he boasts an 18-point lead over the next-highest competitor, Austria’s Max Kühner, and is 46 points ahead of Germany’s Christian Kukuk in third.

It’s an astounding streak by any measure: five consecutive first-round clears over some of the hardest, 1.60m tracks in the world.

And in case you didn’t catch it, Rokfeller Pleville Bois Margot is 19 years old.

“What can I say, I am running out of words for this horse, he is just unbelievable,” Alvarez Aznar said after his podium finish at LGCT Ramatuelle/Saint Tropez. “What he is doing at 19 years old in probably his last season at the top level, and he comes back as strong as ever.”

As it turns out, a few bumps may have built the kind of character required for senior-career success. Because when it comes to the decade-long partnership between “Roky” and Alvarez Aznar, the road hasn’t always been smooth.

When the Spanish rider was first introduced to the French-bred and trained stallion during his 7-year-old year, he chose to pass, noting that Roky had “quite a bit of character” at the time. Harder to overcome, even then, was Rokfeller Pleville Bois Margot’s unique jumping style: he is slow in the air and doesn’t like to be rushed.

Though Alvarez Aznar did agree to take Roky onto his string at age eight (and after he’d been gelded), it took several seasons to build their partnership.

They jumped their first 1.60m class in early 2015, and went on to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

In January of 2017, they earned the biggest win of their career in the CSI5* FEI World Cup qualifier in Zurich, and in 2019, they helped Spain to a first-place finish at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final Challenge Cup in Barcelona.

Then, in 2021, at age 16, Roky was sidelined with an injury that kept him out of competition for a full year.

The gelding was back in action by the spring of 2022, and despite that time off (and another, less-substantial injury earlier in his career), Roky has been competing consistently under Alvarez Aznar for the better part of 11 years. While they have only two CSI5* wins at the 1.60m level, their ‘slow-and-steady’ consistency—not unlike Roky’s trademark jumping style—may be key to their longevity at the top.

No time more than this season, the pair are jumping more clear rounds and finishing at the top of the leaderboard at a record clip.

According to Jumpr, since April of 2023, Alvarez Aznar and Roky are clear at 64%, dropping an average of just 1.3 faults, and finishing in the top-10 73% of the time.

Though they’ve jumped fewer 1.60m tracks than during previous seasons—11 compared to a previous average of 20 or so a year—they’re doing it substantially more accurately than ever before. When it comes to clear rounds and top-10 finishes, they’ve improved on many of their numbers by 25% or better.

So where can they go from here? It’s a question that may be solely up to Rokfeller Pleville Bois Margot.

But one thing is for sure. The gelding—who Alvarez Aznar calls “the most iconic and beloved horse in [his] household”—isn’t going anywhere, and he’ll have all the time he needs to figure it out.