Apollo Van De Wendi Kurt Hoeve, who contested two Olympic Games under Italy’s Stefano Brecciaroli, is retiring from eventing.

The 18-year-old gelding by Polidiktus Van De Helle will have a retirement ceremony as part of the Nations Cup prize-giving at Vairano, Italy, on Sunday (22 April).

The elegant bay Apollo started his career under Belgian riders Ronny Thijs and Marc Rigouts, joining Stefano in 2008. That year, he had a winning streak of three international victories in a row at one- and two-star under Marc and Stefano.

He and Stefano formed a successful partnership and in 25 runs under FEI rules over the course of 10 years, they only failed to complete three times. On every occasion when they finished, they were placed in the top 20, with 19 top-10 results.

Apollo became known as a consistent championship performer, with a reputation for strong dressage but being a little slow across country. His championship results included 14th at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and fifth at the 2011 European Championships in Luhmühlen.

He finished 19th at the London Olympic Games in 2012, having been second after dressage to Japanese combination Yoshiaki Oiwa and Noonday De Conde. He also contested the Rio Olympics, but failed to finish the cross-country.

Another highlight of Apollo’s career was finishing sixth at Badminton in 2013.

The pair won four times at three-star level — at Cameri Novara CIC3* in 2011, Pratoni del Vivaro CIC3* in 2012, Montelibretti CIC3* in 2012 and Burnham Market CIC3* in 2013. On his last FEI run, at Wiesbaden last June, Apollo finished fifth in the CIC3*.

Stefano said that Apollo will now enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

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Badminton preview in Horse & Hound magazine this Thursday (issue dated 26 April), including cross-country course walk with Mary King and full form guide, plus eventing reports from Bicton Arena, Kelsall Hill and Moreton and Mark Phillips’ column.

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