Here we take a look back on 2021 and remember those top showjumping horses who died or were retired this year...
(Colman x Corleone)
Robert Whitaker’s 18-year-old grand prix horse, owned by Mandy Hall and Clare Whitaker.
The gelding was retired in November after a phenomenal decade-long career with Robert. The “strong-minded” bay won five-star grands prix, the World Cup qualifier of Helsinki and represented Great Britain on Nations Cups. “He taught me a lot,” said Robert.
(Vigo D’Arsouilles x Olisco)
Canadian legend Ian Millar’s 18-year-old Olympic ride, owned by Ariel Grange
The multi-winning gelding died in September at his owner’s retirement home, Lothlorien Farms in Ontario. With Ian in the saddle, Dixson helped Canada to Nations Cup success, Pan American gold and victory in the CP International at Spruce Meadows before he retired in 2018.
(Cruising x Safari)
US showjumper Rich Fellers’ World Cup-winning 25-year-old stallion, owned by Harrie and Molly Chapman
The Irish Sport Horse stallion died of natural causes in August and was described as Rich Fellers’ “horse of a lifetime”, taking him to seven World Cup Finals, winning in 2012, and the pair finished eighth individually at the 2012 Olympics.
(Mr Blue x Polydox)
Beezie Madden’s 22-year-old World Cup winner, owned by Abigail Wexner
The “extremely talented and special gelding” died in June, having taken US rider Beezie Madden to the World Cup title and previous rider Jeroen Dubbeldam to victory in the CN International at Spruce Meadows.
(Balou Du Rouet x Cardento)
Steve Guerdat’s prolific winning 15-year-old mare, owned in partnership with Hofgut Albfuhren
Steve was “broken hearted” to announce Bianca’s tragic death at the age of 15 after she suffered from a brain tumour. The pair enjoyed a superb career together, winning individual bronze at WEG in 2018 and five-star grands prix including at Royal Windsor.
Toveks Mary Lou
(Montendro x Portland L)
Henrik von Eckermann’s 15-year-old multiple medal-winning mare, owned by the Tovek family
A leg injury brought about the premature retirement of this amazing mare in June. With Henrik von Eckermann, she was part of Sweden’s silver medal-winning squads at the 2017 Europeans and WEG 2018, as well as the 2019 Dutch Masters. “I don’t think I have to explain what this mare means to me,” said Henrik.
The legendary 32-year-old showjumping sire, owned by the Nijhof family
The prolific breeding stallion, “one of the most important pillars” of the breeding industry who topped the WBFSH sire rankings for seven years in a row, died at the age of 32 in April. His top-level progeny will ensure his legacy lives on for generations to come.
(By Argentinus) The Hales family’s legendary 27-year-old showjumping stallion, ridden by Nick Skelton
The legendary sire died in January having retired from breeding duties two years ago. In an outstanding showjumping career, he took Nick Skelton to the 2004 Olympics and won grands prix all over the world including the CN International at Spruce Meadows. The stallion is also credited with bringing Nick back to the sport after he broke his neck in 2000.
(Habsburg x Calvados)
Ellen Whitaker’s 25-year-old multi-winning gelding, owned by her father Steven and Dawn Makin
The talented but quirky chestnut gelding died at the start of the year having won the British Open in 2010 and the leading showjumper of the year at HOYS in 2009 and helped Great Britain win in Nations Cup.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.