A Badminton win, an Olympic medal and 11 five-star completions – we celebrate Paulank Brockagh’s career in 19 lovely photos

  • Earlier this week, we received the news that the 2014 Badminton winner, Dinah and Steve Posford and Jules Carter’s Paulank Brockagh, has been retired and returned to her breeders in Ireland.

    The 17-year-old mare known as “Brocks” was a stalwart of the top-level eventing scene with Sam Griffiths, recording four top-10 five-star results in addition to her Badminton victory and leading Australia to team bronze at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

    We take a look back at her career…

    Brocks joined Sam in 2010 and the pair finished eighth in the seven-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers that autumn. But she first really caught the eye the following spring when she claimed second in the CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Houghton Hall in Norfolk

    A showjumping clear secured the runner-up spot for the pair on that occasion at Houghton

    Later that year, Brocks was Sam’s mount for the London Olympic test event. A clear across country with just 1.2 time-faults landed them a finish inside the top 20

    By the spring of 2012, Brocks was ready to be competitive at CCI3* (now CCI4*-L). Here she is en route to fifth place at Bramham, jumping the Yorkshire event’s iconic ice cream cone fence

    The mare stepped up to the top level in 2013 and she put in a competitive performance at Burghley, helped by a nearly 10-mark improvement in her dressage from Badminton that spring

    Sam and Brocks take on the Cottesmore Leap at Burghley 2013 and finish 13th

    Brocks’ day of days came at Badminton 2014 and it was an extraordinary competition. She lay 25th after dressage – not a likely position for a winner in the modern sport – but came into her own on a tough, wet cross-country day when only around half the starters finished the course

    No one really expects to move up to win Badminton with a showjumping down – but that’s exactly what happened. There wasn’t a single penalty-free round on the final day at Badminton that year

    The World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, that autumn was another tough competition, with heavy going on the cross-country, but Brocks battled through to land 16th individually, the second-best finish of the fourth-placed Australian team

    Sam and Brocks were back to defend their title at Badminton 2015, where they finished 10th

    Another Burghley that autumn – another Cottesmore Leap shot. The pair improved on their previous Burghley placing with ninth and a double jumping clear, the mare’s first at this level

    Pats after dressage at Badminton 2016…

    But maybe Sam’s face tells the story at the final horse inspection. An annoying 20 penalties across country kept the pair out of the top echelons on this occasion

    Sam and Brocks were called up for the Australian team at the Rio Olympics in the summer of 2016 and the mare put in one of her best performances, kicking off with a 46.3 dressage

    A fast clear cross-country over Pierre Michelet’s influential course elevated them up the order

    And in the showjumping ring, Brocks put in two clear rounds, leading the Australians to team bronze and finishing just out of the individual medals herself in fourth

    Justified delight for Sam as he clears all the poles in the team round

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    Brocks recorded strong results at the Continental five-stars in her final years competing, notching up eighth place at Pau in 2017 and seventh at Luhmühlen in 2019. In between, she completed a final Badminton in 2018, taking 15th. Her record of six consecutive Badminton finishes is only bettered by Lenamore’s seven, with Merry Sovereign also having six completions on his record

    Pictures by Peter Nixon, trevor-meeks-photography.co.uk, Lucy Merrell, Hamish Mitchell and sarahfarnsworth.co.uk

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