Top British rider says sad farewell to star dressage mare

  • Richard Davison’s former Olympic ride has died aged 27.

    Ballaseyr Royale was put down this morning as “old age had recently started to take its toll”.

    She and Richard represented Britain at Olympic, World and European championships and the FEI World Cup finals.

    In 2003 the combination were part of the bronze medal-winning team at the Windsor Europeans, scoring more than 70% in all three tests. The pair were also crowned British Dressage national champions the same year.

    “Today is a very sad day for us all at Combridge,” said Richard.

    “I know I am not the only one to shed tears at her passing as Royale held a special place in the hearts of all our staff, both past and present.”

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    Bred by Inge Kataballe in Denmark, Royale (Picandt x Matador) was retired fit and sound after the 2004 Athens Olympics and Richard and Gwendolyn decided to breed from her.

    Her first foal, Bubblingh (by Lingh), was long-listed for Rio with Richard and is his current grand prix ride.

    “I would like to thank all of them and everyone else who contributed to Royale’s care including our travelling grooms, vets, farrier, physio, Louise Morton and all of the support team within Team GBR and the UK Sport World Class Programme,” he added.

    “But I will always be most indebted to Royale’s owner, our loyal supporter and friend Gwendolyn Sontheim, for granting me the privilege of riding Royale and entrusting her care to me.

    “Royale’s story is not only that of an extraordinary and wonderful horse, but also of an ongoing journey that united so many special people.

    “This was part of her legacy; this was her gift. We’ll miss her big kind eyes and huge ears, always pricked forward.”

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