Trevor Breen’s 2014 Hickstead Derby winner Adventure De Kannan was retired from the sport in a poignant ceremony at the West Sussex venue this afternoon (Sunday 25 June).
Very few horses are granted the honour of a retirement ceremony in Hickstead’s famous International Arena — the last to do so was William Funnell’s triple Derby winner Mondriaan in 2011 — but it seems fitting for this much-loved “one-eyed wonder horse”, who made the All England Jumping Course his own.
“Addy” bows out as the only horse to have won the Speed Derby (2009), the Eventing Grand Prix (2012), the All England Grand Prix (2012), the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2014) and the British Jumping Derby (2014).
“Without a doubt I owe a lot of my career to Addy, he has been by best horse for the majority of my career,” said an emotional Trevor.
“He won classes for me week in, week out, year in and year out. We’d go to any big show in the world — Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Hickstead, Dublin, and he always tried his best — and that’s all I could ask for.
“He is an absolute gem of a horse in every possible way, it just shows his heart and his attitude. For one single horse to have all those skills to win all those different classes is incredible, he has such a will to win. He’s unbelievable and I’m going to miss him.”
The 17-year-old Irish Sports Horse gelding had an operation to remove his right eye in 2013 and finished runner-up to Phillip Miller (Caritiar Z) in that year’s Derby. Trevor described the result as “the worst second place I’ve ever had”.
Twelve months later, Trevor and Phillip both completed the Derby track on four faults and a jump-off was required to decide top honours. This time the Irishman claimed the title by 0.02seconds.
Adventure De Kannan’s owner Karen Swann produced the gelding in his early years, eventing him up to two-star level and showjumping up to 1.20m in Ireland before Trevor was given the ride. Addy will return to Karen’s Co. Tipperary home to enjoy an active retirement.
“I didn’t think it was fair to him to keep going, and I don’t want to be unfair to a horse who has given me everything,” said Trevor. “He’s helped me so much in my career and won so much for me. I wanted to retire him at the top.”