World champion Michael Jung is to keep the ride on his gold medal-winning partner La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (“Sam”), after the German Olympic Equestrian Association (DOKR) bought the 47% majority share in the horse.

The contract, signed on 4 February, follows months of dispute and speculation about the sale. The horse was valued at €766,666.66 (£626,144).

Sabine Kreuter sold her 60% share in the 11-year-old Wurttemberg gelding to DOKR and the Jungs’ family friend, Eric Single, who has acquired 13%.

The Jungs retain the 40% share that was given to them by Ms Kreuter in 2005.

“We are very glad this outstanding partnership can stay together and that we could secure it for the German squad,” DOKR manager Reinhard Wendt said to H&H.

Mr Jung told German press he was relieved that the months of uncertainty were over.

Ms Kreuter had voiced her decision to sell her share last September, with various provisos, and the horse has been subject to a ding-dong battle between herself, DOKR and the Jungs.

“Now I can start looking forward to the future,” said Mr Jung, adding that he did not know whether the horse would compete at the European Championships in September.

There is one significant uncertainty remaining — regarding the horse’s health. A vetting in January by the German team vet revealed that Sam has a heart murmur.

While it is understood that his career is not under threat, he will undergo further veterinary inspection in six months’ time.

A clause in DOKR’s purchase agreement means that the sale is subject to this second check.

“Sam’s heart murmur does not affect his power or ability at the moment,” said Mr Wendt.

“But he is under observation and we will seek reassurance in six months’ time as to whether Sam can take part in top-level competition.”

He added while no decision has been made concerning the European Championships, the likelihood of Sam’s participation is “very high”.

“The final decision about the combination staying together has only been made in the past few days,” he said. “Plans for the season will be made over the next few weeks, but his chances are very good.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (10 February, 2011)