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The world-leading dressage sire De Niro has died aged 24.

Klosterhof Medingen stud, where De Niro had stood and where he also lived out his retirement, revealed the news today (11 October).

He was put down this morning due to ongoing laminitis problems.

“The entire Klosterhof team is very sad about the loss of this unique stallion,” said a statement from the stud, adding that the horse had “written breeding history”.

“De Niro leaves a big gap. We are grateful to this outstanding stallion and wonderful horse for two decades, where he has represented the Klosterhof Medingen worldwide and will continue to be present for a long time through his offspring.”

The Hanoverian stallion has been hugely influential in the world of sport horse breeding and was also very successful in competition.

He was competing at grand prix level by the age of seven and won the German Championships for Professional Riders in 2001. At the age of nine, he took international grand prix titles at Saumur and Berlin.

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By the great dressage sire Donnerhall, De Niro has been at the top of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses list of dressage sires since 2012, with the exception of 2014, when he was second to Gribaldi.

De Niro was also named stallion of the year in 2008 by the Hanoverian Association.

He had numerous offspring competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Kristina Bröring-Sprehe’s individual bronze and team gold medal-winning ride Desperados FRH.

He has 86 licensed sons in Germany, including Don Deluxe and full brothers Danone I and Danone II.

Among his leading progeny are Delgado, who has competed at European and Olympic level with Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat, European and World team gold medallist D’Agostino FRH and multiple grand prix winner Glock’s Voice.

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