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Retired Olympic champion Big Star has been named stallion of the year by KWPN.

Nick Skelton’s gold medal-winning partner, owned by Gary and Beverley Widdowson, will be honoured at the KWPN Stallion Show in the Netherlands (31 January – 3 February).

The now 15-year-old stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor was retired last May at Royal Windsor Horse Show following a remarkable career.

“One of the highlights of the stallion show is the awarding of the honorable title, stallion of the year 2017,” said a KWPN spokesman.

“This year the title goes to a jumping stallion. There is one stallion that makes the hearts of all jumping enthusiasts beat faster: Big Star.

“In 2017 the stallion said goodbye to the sport after his extremely successful jumping career. Reason enough to pay tribute to this powerhouse because of his unprecedented achievements that he has provided for many years.

“The Olympic champion will come back to his native country especially for the stallion show. On Thursday, 1 February, Big Star will enter the ring once more.”

With Nick, Big Star won individual gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and was on the gold medal-winning team at the London Olympics in 2012.

Big Star now stands at stud at Stallion AI Services.

He already has progeny on the ground in the UK, the eldest of whom is four years old. Last year one of Big Star’s foals sold for £90,000.

A spokesman for British Showjumping celebrated the news of Big Star receiving the award.

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“An incredibly charismatic horse, it is impossible to not feel immense affection towards his infectious personality and way of going,” he said.

“Big Star, with his exuberance and lion-hearted way neighing at the fences as he enters the arena through to the way he attacks each fence on the course made him a personality in his own right.”

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