Olympic eventing gold medallist who made ‘dreams come true’ will not return to sport

  • Olympic champion Julia Krajewski has announced the retirement of her Tokyo individual gold medal-winner Amande De B’Neville who made her “dreams come true”.

    The 14-year-old mare was last seen in international competition at the 2022 World Eventing Championships in Pratoni, where she secured individual silver and helped Germany to the team title.

    Julia, who owns the Selle Francais mare with Bernd Heicke, said Amande De B’Neville (“Mandy”) will not return to sport owing to an “undramatic” hoof issue, which has failed to improve as hoped despite “all sort of approaches in treatment”.

    “I suppose many people are wondering how Mandy is doing and what’s next for her. First of all she is doing absolutely fine, spending her life in the most horsey way (lots of field time) and being her usual proud self,” said Julia.

    “About what’s next for her – to be able to give a reliable answer to that question has taken quite some time and consideration. She is an incredibly special horse to us and every decision about her has to do her the best justice possible.

    “To make it short, she will not return to sport but hopefully become as wonderful as a mummy as she was in eventing.”

    She added that the decision was taken with Professor Heicke, who is the “most supportive owner” and “always has the horses’ best interests in mind”.

    “While [the hoof issue] does not make her uncomfortable in normal life, there is a risk that it might get way worse when the pressure of performance is put on. Even though there also is a little chance it could work, we decided against trying it,” said Julia.

    “Everyone is to judge himself what chances are right to take, but I felt that Mandy gave me so, so much, being the most outstanding horse, making all my dreams come true, that my biggest fear would have been to fail her in return and not deciding in her best interest.”

    The Oscar Des Fontaines daughter was bred in France and started her career showjumping. She was sourced for Julia as a six-year-old by Myriam Meylemans.

    The mare scored promising results on her rise through the eventing ranks and made an impressive four-star debut in the Event Rider Masters section at Chatsworth in 2019, finishing fourth.

    In 2021, the pair won Saumur CCI4*-L and finished fifth in the German Championship CCI4*-S at Luhmühlen before they securedthe historic gold at the Tokyo Games, where Julia became the first woman to win an individual Olympic eventing title.

    “While I am very sad that I will not feel her incredible power, clever mind, scopey jump and sheer determination, which then sometimes peaked into this unreal connection I felt in Tokyo or Pratoni again, I am very much at peace with the decision to retire her now,” she said. “And hopefully have some nice foals from her in the future.”

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