The showjumping world has said goodbye to one its biggest talents, following the news that Baloubet du Rouet has died at the age of 28.
The Selle Francais son of Galoubet A x Starter was bred in France by Louis Fardin and originally produced through young horse classes in France by Nelson Pessoa, with whom he also competed at the 1998 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Rome, finishing 11th. But it was at the end of that year that his son Rodrigo took the reins, and the pair were launched into the spotlight.
They scored a hat-trick of World Cup victories, reigning from 1998-2000 — the only horse-rider combination to achieve such a feat — and narrowly missing out on a fourth by finishing second in 2001.
We take a look back at the star in action…
In his career, Baloubet du Rouet competed in 263 top level competitions, finishing in the first five in 68% of them and winning 24% of them
Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa on his way to clinching the individual Olympic gold medal in Athens with Baloubet du Rouet in 2004. He also took an Olympic team bronze medal in Sydney in 2000
“He arrived as a wild five year old kid but showed a lot of potential on the very first jump," said Rodrigo, about the horse with whom he found Olympic glory. "The start was not easy but he was so intelligent that he understood everything very quickly. He grew up to become one of the greatest horses in history"
Baloubet du Rouet and Rodrigo Pessoa on their way to winning the fifth FEI World Top 10 final in Geneva in 2005
Baloubet du Rouet in action in the Aachen grand prix in 2006. Among the grand prix trophies with his name on it are Bordeaux, Geneva and Paris
Baloubet du Rouet retired from the ring in 2006 at the phenomenal age of 17 but has gone on to be one of the most influential and successful sires in the world, named the leading sire of jumping horses by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) in 2012 and 2013
Baloubet du Rouet's genius lives on through the likes of Ludger Beerbaum’s Chaman and Jur Vrieling's VDL Bubalu
"Talent, beauty, energy, power, skill and elegance made him the best,” says Rodrigo. Since 2010 Baloubet de Rouet had lived with his owners Nicole and Diego Coutinho Pereira in Portugal