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Top event horse put down during colic operation: ‘He was an absolute dream horse’

A horse who would have been an individual medal contender for next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics has been put down.

Bayro, the ride of Dutch eventer Tim Lips, was put down yesterday (29 March) – vets were unable to save the 14-year-old grey during a colic operation.

“This morning we had to say goodbye to my favorite horse Bayro with a lot of pain in our hearts,” said Tim. “I have been lucky to have had many special horses in my life, but Bayro was definitely the number one – a horse with a sweet character, so intelligent, so much quality; an absolute dream horse.”

Bayro first made his mark in the upper echelons of the sport when he was seventh in the eight- and nine-year-old CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Blenheim in 2014. Over the following five seasons, he achieved 12 top-10 placings at four- and five-star level (previously three- and four-star).

The highlights of Bayro’s career included sixth place at last year’s European Championships in Luhmühlen, where he would have won an individual medal had he not had a single showjump down, and 21st place individually at the Rio Olympics.

He won two four-stars last year, at Strzegom and Sopot, and at the current five-star level was seventh at Luhmühlen in 2015 and 11th at both Luhmühlen 2017 and Pau 2015. At Luhmühlen 2018 he led the dressage on a score of 24.1, but missed out on a win after receiving 50 penalties under the controversial flag rule in place at the time.

Tim and Bayro secured the Netherlands one of the nation’s two individual places at Tokyo by heading the rankings for combinations from countries not qualified for the Games from group A (North Western Europe) – they topped the overall ranking as well as the group list.

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In his tribute to Bayro, Tim spoke of the legacy of a “friendship for life” with Bayro’s syndicate of owners, and paid tribute to his parents Martin and Annette, who made it possible for him to continue riding the horse when their future together looked in doubt two years ago. He also mentioned the countless lessons with Nicole Werner, when the horse would start out “laconic” but then brought out his best.

“Together we have achieved fantastic results for eight years – so many special moments that we would have liked to experience together for a few more years,” said Tim.

“Everyone close to Bayro is sad. I want to thank everyone who took care of him for the last eight years, not to mention the vets who fought for him until the last minute. Bayro was certainly our once in a lifetime horse.”

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