Top horses retire after London 2012 Olympic Games

  • Greenwich was the final time that equestrian fans got to see a number of top horses in competition. Dressage stars Salinero and Ravel, eventers Gazelle De Le Brasserie and Amistad and showjumper Vigo d’Arsouilles were all retired from international competition after the Games.

    Anky van Grusven retired Salinero after helping the Netherlands to secure the team bronze medal, making her the most medalled Olympic rider in history. Salinero’s record includes two individual Olympic gold medals, as well as team silver and bronze. This incredible partnership, who reigned at the very top of the sport for so many years, finished on a high with a brilliant freestyle scoring 82% for sixth place.

    America’s Steffen Peters also decided to make the London Games the final competition for his 14-year-old partner, Ravel. An American team stalwart and one of the few horses that can claim to have beaten Olympic champion Valegro, unfortunately Ravel didn’t go out in a blaze of glory, looking distracted in his freestyle to score 77.268% and finish 17th.

    “That’s it for Ravel,” said Steffen after the freestyle. “I will remember him for his great career. If you put it all together, today was only a glitch. He has given us all so much.”

    Eventer Karin Donkers brought the competitive career of her consistent and long-serving Gazelle De Le Brasserie to a close after finishing 15th and best of the Belgians in London.

    The 18-year-old Swiss warmblood is known for her attractive dressage tests — she was seventh in London and second at the 2008 Olympics after this phase — and good showjumping technique. Unfortunately their success at the highest level has always been thwarted by time penalties on the cross-country.

    The career of Canadian rider Michelle Mueller‘s mount Amistad came to a premature end after the cross-country phase in London. One of only two Canadian partnerships to complete the testing track, the 13-year-old gelding was found to have damaged his tendon and has been retired from the sport as a result.

    And last, but by no means least, the reigning showjumping world champion Vigo d’Arsouilles was retired from competition after picking up an injury on the second day of the jumping competition. The 14-year-old stallion will continue to stand at stud.

    His Belgian rider Philippe Le Jeune said: “I wanted to finish in style with a great Olympic result. Unfortunately, fate has decided otherwise.”

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