Even JK Rowling would have struggled to write a better final chapter to the story of the great showjumping stallion Taloubet Z.
His German rider Christian Ahlmann announced last week that he would be retiring the 18-year-old (Galoubet A x Polydor), who has carried him to team bronze at the Olympic Games, a World Cup title and reams of grand prix victories.
Their final competition was to be the feature class, the World Cup, in front of their home crowd at the CSI5* Leipzig on Sunday and, in a beautifully scripted fairytale finish, the pair triumphed against the best in the world for one last time.
“We took the risk to jump him so he could say goodbye here at Leipzig where everyone knows him and leave the sport in great shape,” said Christian. “So to have a good result and to finish with a proper round like that under pressure, it makes me so happy.”
Christian, 43, and Taloubet Z were last to go in the 15-horse jump-off and the prize-giving ceremony that followed was an occasion filled with emotion before the stallion’s saddle was removed and he left the show ring for the final time.
“I really didn’t want to mess it up for Taloubet,” said Christian. “It’s the greatest day of my life for sure, not for the points or the money, it’s much more than that. It’s because this great horse, who still has all this power, even at this age, is ending his career in a great way.”
Looking back over their nine-year partnership, Christian said: “It has always been fascinating to feel what Taloubet was capable of. His bounce, speed, fighting spirit and quality are just abnormal. But even his balanced, lovable nature is absolutely unique.”
Taloubet Z’s top 10 moments
1. Taloubet Z jumped in four World Cup finals, winning in 2011
2. This was their third grand prix triumph in Leipzig
3. He and Christian competed together at the highest level for nine years
4. Taloubet earned over €2million in prize-money
5. The pair took team bronze and finished ninth individually at the Rio Olympics 2016
6. Taloubet was bred in the Netherlands by Cees Klaver, the same man who bred Nick Skelton’s dual gold medallist Big Star.
7. The pair helped the German team win the Nations Cup final, 2016
8. Taloubet is co-owned by Christian, his wife Judy-Ann and father-in-law Leon Melchior and was previously ridden by Judy-Ann
9. Taloubet and Christian contested nine showjumping championships, winning team silver at the Europeans in 2015
10. He will enjoy his retirement has a much in-demand breeding stallion: “I hope there will be many offspring in the world who also possess his genius,” said Christian.
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