Much-loved British show jumper Arko III is to be retired at the end of the year, H&H exclusively reveals today (Thursday, 9 October).

Owned by John Hales and his daughter Lisa, Arko is set to be retired at Olympia in December and will then stand at stud.

Lisa said: “It’s been a complete privilege to own Arko — we never dreamed he would be so successful. It’s lovely to retire him while he’s still jumping against the very best at the very top.”

Nick Skelton, who partnered the stallion, told H&H that Arko was his “best ever” ride.

He added: “I knew he was world class the first time I sat on him. He’s jumping the best now that he’s ever jumped. But Lisa [Hales] wants him to go to stud and thinks it’s the best time to retire him.”

Arko — who was a member of the GB winning Nations Cup team at Dublin Horse Show earlier this year — took his career earnings to more than £1million after winning the grand prix in Calgary, Canada, in September.

During his career the popular 14-year-old also won the Dubai Classic, the Rome, Lucerne and Cannes grands prix and the Estoril Global Champions tour grand prix.

In 2006 the 16.1hh bay stallion tore a ligament near his navicular bone and took 10 months to rest. Although he returned in good form Arko was withdrawn from 2008 Olympic contention on veterinary advice.

Arko photo gallery

  • The Hales-family owned Russel, Nick Skelton’s ride in the 2008 Olympics, has also been retired. For more on both these stories, plus Graham Fletcher’s exclusive interview with Nick Skelton, don’t miss this Thursday’s (9 October) H&H.