‘An absolute legend’: watch this 19-year-old international grand prix horse still thriving at top level

  • Anyone wondering what an older grand prix dressage horse who loves his job looks like should check out Rubins Nite, the fabulous 19-year-old gelding who is still loving life at the top of the sport.

    Rubins Nite, known at home as Squeaks, and his owner/rider of 17 years, Hayley Watson-Greaves, finished third in the grand prix freestyle at Addington CDI* last week.

    Last to go in the class, which was won by Annabella Pidgley and Vamos Amigos on 76.39%, Hayley and Squeaks produced a beautiful performance to spine-tingling music. They received 73.54%from the judges, to finish in third place behind Annabella in first and Greece’s Theodora Livanos (Robinvale) in second.

    The judge at B, Mariano Santos Redondo, enjoyed Hayley’s beautifully choreographed test so much, he had she and Squeaks joint-first with Vamos Amigos.

    “Squeaks danced his socks off last night,” said Hayley after the show. “I’m so proud of my boy and loved every minute riding our freestyle.

    “I can’t tell you how much Squeaks means to me. Our partnership has spanned 17 years, he is just an absolute legend,” she added. “If anyone asks me if Squeaks still enjoys his job, I can categorically say yes!”

    The pair scored highly for the canter work and the extended trot in their freestyle, which is always a highlight of their tests, but it was their harmony and Squeaks’ obvious zest for life that was most pleasing to witness.

    It’s hardly surprising the pair have such a great relationship – Hayley bought the Rubin Royal son as a two-year-old and has backed and produced him up the levels, joking to H&H, “I feel as though we’re married”.

    The pair have been competing at top level together for almost a decade, having made their international grand prix debut at this same show, Addington CDI, in March 2014.

    In that time they have been crowned British national champions in 2017, finished 11th at the World Cup Final in 2018 and featured on numerous Nations Cup teams and championship team longlists, including being non-travelling reserves for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Quite a journey for this lovely horse, who clearly still loves his job as much as ever.

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