At the age of 17, the phenomenal mare Ursula XII has been retired from the sport of showjumping. The Scottish Sport Horse mare’s rider Scott Brash made the announcement after the pair finished sixth in the Rolex grand prix in Geneva on Sunday (9 December).
“I get a lot of reward in stopping her at the top end of the sport, in such good health and condition, which for me is the main thing,” said Scott.
To celebrate Ursula’s outstanding career, we’ve picked out six epic moments that helped her to become the best horse in the world.
Ursula first caught the eye of Scott Brash when she was a five-year-old, jumping in a newcomers class at Fife Show, but the British rider had to wait another six years before taking the reins. At the age of nine, a still up-and-coming Ursula headed to Horse of the Year Show where she finished third in the newcomers final to Anthony Condon with Molly Malone V. She was ridden by Mark Turnbull (pictured above), whose family had bred Ursula in Scotland, by Ahorn out of a Papageno mare called Paloma, and it was Mark who produced Ursula through the ranks to grade A.
At the age of 10, Ursula was sold to Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham and ridden for the first 18 months by Tina Fletcher (pictured above). “I am very proud to have been part of this outstanding mare’s journey to be the leading horse in the world,” she said.
Scott Brash took the reins in 2012 and among their many triumphs, the Scotsman says winning the CP International grand prix at the Spruce Meadows Masters (pictured) in 2016 is his favourite moment with Ursula. “She perhaps didn’t get the recognition she deserved because she was second so many times,” said Scott. “That win was so long overdue that it felt even more special.”
By 2017, the lap of honour was a regular occurrence for Scott and Ursula but the pair still dazzle as they celebrate victory in the the CSI5* grand prix in Doha, Qatar, in March. “She’s straightforward to ride — no quirks whatsoever — and she has such an enormous stride that you don’t realise until you’re up close just what a small horse she is [16hh],” Scott said to H&H.
The pair were regular and formidable competitors on the Longines Global Champions Tour and it was hats off once again to Scott and Ursula XII after they won the grand prix in Mexico earlier this year.
“I always loved Ursula, from the first time I set eyes on her,” Scott told H&H. Thank you Ursula — we wish you an enjoyable retirement and we can’t wait to see your foals. “We will make sure she enjoys a very happy retirement and she will certainly be very pampered,” said Scott.
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