Following Oliver Townend's announcement over the weekend that this year's Badminton was Armada's final four-star competition, we take a look back at some of the cross-country maestro's career highlights in pictures
Oliver Townend has announced that his 17hh ride Armada will be stepping down from four-star competition following this year’s Mitsubsishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, where he finished in 25th postition and was one of only 11 horses to go clear within the time across Giuseppe Della Chiesa‘s challenging track.
“He’s been phenomenal,” says Oliver, about the 17-year-old gelding who was with Andrew Nicholson until 2012. “I’ll particularly remember him finishing well, seconds inside the time, when he won the British national title at Gatcombe and some of the things he’s done in distances, like taking six strides in three.
“The whole story with him is what could have been [because he has come so close to winning major events], but he filled a hole in the yard [when Oliver did not have many top-level rides] and we’ve learnt a lot from him from a management point of view,” adds Oliver.
“This is his last four-star and it’s a thrill that he’s going out on a cross-country performance we’ll remember. He’s not going to have any job other than being an event horse though — he jumps out of the field when he’s bored, he’s not nice to hack and he’s certainly not going to be a dressage horse or a showjumper!”
Don’t miss the full Badminton Horse Trials report in the 12 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine
Armada and Andrew Nicholson head for third in the CIC3* at Barbury in 2010
Andrew and Armada finish in third at Bramham in 2011
Oliver Townend and Armada finish in eighth place at Luhmuhlen CCI4*
Oliver and Armada take fourth position in their first season together in 2012
Heading for second place at The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe
Oliver and Armada fly around Badminton in 2014, where they finished in second place
Oliver and Armada take eighth position at Burghley in 2014
Heading for 11th position at Badminton in 2015
The last hurrah: Oliver and Armada were eighth after cross-country at the horse's final four-star, but dropped to 25th place with five down in the final phase
'He's been phenomenal,' says Oliver about the 17hh gelding