Remembering Armada: 21 moments from his glittering career

  • Yesterday (9 July) we learnt that the prolific event horse Armada was put down last week, aged 20.

    The imposing chestnut had a stellar eventing career, boasting 16 CCI4* (now CCI5*) completions, with both Andrew Nicholson and latterly Oliver Townend, with whom the gelding finished second at Badminton in 2014.

    Owned by Paul and Diana Ridgeon, Armada had a reputation for being something of a cross-country machine, finishing in the top 10 at CCI5* level six times. He amassed 2,559 British Eventing points during his career which spanned 12 years, between 2004 and 2016 before he was retired to Andrew Nicholson’s yard.

    Here we celebrate just a few of the amazing moments throughout Armada’s career…

    1. Andrew and Armada at Bramham in 2008, where they finished fourth

    2. Armada, aged nine, at his first Badminton with Andrew in 2008

    3. Andrew and Armada finishing fourth in the CCI4*-S at Barbury in 2009

    4. The pair finishing 10th in the CCI5* at Luhmühlen in 2010 — Armada made three visits to this event in this class and never finished outside of the top 10

    5. Andrew piloting the chestnut to third in the CCI4*-S at Barbury in 2010

    <p>Armada and Andrew Nicholson head for third in the CIC3* at Barbury in 2010</p>

    6. A return to the CCI4*-S at Barbury in 2011, this time finishing eighth

    7. Finishing third in the CCI4*-S at Bramham in 2011

    8. Armada at home with Oliver Townend, who rode him in the second half of his career

    Oliver Townend with Armada at Oliver's Home, Gadlas Farm, Near Ellesmere, UK on 26th June 2014

    9. Oliver and Armada en-route to finishing eighth at Luhmühlen in 2012 — their first attempt at this level as a combination

    Oliver Townend and Armada finish in eight place at Luhmuhlen CCI4*

    10. Oliver and Armada in the dressage at Burghley in 2012, where they finished fourth, rounding off the pair’s first season together

    Oliver Townend and Armada

    11. Heading for second place at The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in 2013

    12. Oliver and Armada fly around Badminton in 2014, where they finished in second place

    13. Oliver and Armada take eighth position at Burghley in 2014

    14. At the trot-up at Badminton

    15. Heading for 11th position at Badminton in 2015

    16. In the dressage at Armada’s final Badminton in 2016…

    Oliver Townend and Armada at Badminton 2016. Picture by Peter Nixon

    17. …Where he showed his usual prowess across country…

    18. …finishing in the top 25

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