Olympic showjumper Tinka’s Serenade has been retired.
The 19-year-old mare, ridden by Irish showjumper Billy Twomey, represented Ireland at London 2012.
Billy and Tinka’s extensive list of career highlights includes wins in the Basel grand prix and the Rolex grand prix in Zurich, 2011. They took the leading showjumper of the year at Horse of the Year Show in 2013 and were victorious in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in Paris, France, in 2011.
The combination jumped for their country many times in Nations Cup competitions, in the World Equestrian Games in 2010, the European championships in Madrid in 2011 and they competed as individuals at the London Olympics in 2012.
“She has been an unbelievable horse for me since 2009,” Billy said. “I am very lucky to have had her, and I am very grateful for what she has done for me. Over the years, she just improved and improved.
“She was very head-strong when we first got her, spinning around and doing all sorts of naughty things, but she eventually relaxed and really got into her job the older she got.”
Last year the British-bred daughter of Tinka’s Boy returned to top flight international competition at the age of 18, after taking some time out for breeding via embryo transfer.
The round of embryo transfer failed to take in the recipient mare, but Tinka’s Serenade already had a colt foal, also via embryo transfer, taken straight after the London Olympics. The resulting foal “Delboy”, by Luidam, was born in 2013.
“She is a born fighter, a horse that really rose to the occasion,” added Billy.
“The more atmosphere, noise and things that were going on, the better she was. It really used to lift her. She was very good when the job had to be done, especially in Nations Cups. She jumped a lot of important clear rounds for Ireland, which we are very proud of.
“The Top 10 final is probably the most memorable. It’s the best of the best on that day and she had been in really good form around that time. To win it was really special.”
The likely plan for Tinka’s Serenade now is to do some more embryo transfers during the Spring at the Davies’ Pewit Stud in Cheshire, before spending the majority of her time based with Billy.
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“She jumped clear in the Amsterdam grand prix three weeks ago, and in modern-day showjumping it is pretty unheard of for a horse of that age to still be competing at five-star level competitively,” Billy added.
“She was still winning at 19, and I just thought maybe it was time to not go on any more and finish at the very top with the horse still in really good shape and at the top of her game.
“I want to thank all the people that have helped me with her along the way, the vets, farriers, physios and everyone that has been associated with her, especially the two grooms — Alana Gamble and Kerry Finch — who have looked after her throughout her career.
“Most of all, I would like to thank Sue Davies, my long-term owner, for making it all possible. She has been truly outstanding in giving me the freedom to enable me to do what I wanted to with the mare, and wonderfully supportive in all our ventures together.”