‘He made me smile every day’: rider pays tribute to top dressage horse

  • Amy Stovold’s dressage star MacBrian has been put down at the age of 19.

    The gelding fractured his pelvis before Christmas and, despite the best efforts of Arundel Equine Hospital, he was struggling to recover and was put down this week (10 January).

    “We were monitoring him carefully,” Amy told H&H.

    “It was not fair to put him through that after everything he has done for me.”

    The pair achieved numerous top-10 placings across Europe and represented Great Britain 10 times between 2009-10.

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    In 2009, the combination were crowned national intermediate II champions and made their Olympia debut the following year, where they came fifth.

    “He was the most honest, most genuine, loving horse you could ever wish to have,” she told H&H.

    “He always put absolutely 100% into everything.

    “Riding him in the test event for the London 2012 Olympics and at Olympia in 2010 were my highlights — we achieved our best score at Olympia.”

    Amy said she found “Macca” through word of mouth.

    She went to see him on recommendation of her equine dentist, Nat Heal, and realised how special he was.

    Amy had been aiming the dark chestnut gelding at London 2012, but a hoof injury in 2011 dashed their hopes.

    MacBrian made a successful comeback two years later, winning the grand prix at Hickstead in April 2013.

    However, Amy said at the time that he “just wasn’t 100% after the show” and he was retired from competition. She told H&H at the time that she was “heartbroken”.

    He returned to full soundness and last year the combination made a remarkable second comeback, scoring over 68% in both the grand prix and the freestyle.

    “He was feeling the best he has ever felt and I was planning on doing some more shows,” said Amy.

    “I absolutely loved that horse, from the moment I sat on him 12 years ago he made me smile every day.”

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