We challenge anyone to watch Nino Des Buissonnets’ farewell ceremony (below) and not shed a tear — it was emotional to say the least.
Seeing London 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat bid a touching adieu to his 15-year-old gold medal-winning partner on Sunday (11 December) after they jumped their final round together in the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva had us all in pieces.
“The farewell was so special, it was so intense, powerful, so emotional. It was much more than I expected,” said the Swiss rider. “The stadium was full, everyone stayed after the Rolex Grand Prix and I am very grateful to all of the public and the show, for that. It will always remain in my heart.”
Steve and the tenacious “Flying Nino”, owned by Urs Schwarzenbach, enjoyed phenomenal success over the years but his rider wanted him “to finish on a high note” and the decision to retire the gelding was made after the Olympics in Rio, where the pair finished fourth.
“He deserves the right to quit at the top of his form, at the end of a great season, in the special Palexpo arena. It’s the right time and place to stop,” said Steve.
The formidable Nino, by Kannan, was bred in France at the Deroubaix Farm and came to Steve six years ago. He has never been the easiest ride, but displayed absolute brilliance to twice win this grand prix in their home town of Geneva (2013 and 2015), twice finished runner-up in the World Cup final, and the pair also landed the grands prix of La Baule and Helsinki among their many victories.
“Nino will turn 16 next year and if he were to sustain an injury, it would probably be the end of his career. I didn’t want to take that risk,” said Steve.
“Nino has become a legend, not just because of him winning Olympic gold or because of the two Major victories in Geneva. He never took part at too many shows, but whatever he did, he always turned in top results – and he is still in top form now.
“He is not only my best horse, he is without doubt one of the top horses in sporting history.”