Merci, Comme Il Faut: superstar stallion retires in emotional ceremony

  • Marcus Ehning’s superstar stallion Comme Il Faut has retired from showjumping in an emotional ceremony at the European Championships.

    After Saturday’s three-star 1.55m grand prix, in which not only Comme Il Faut himself but two of his offspring also jumped, the 16-year-old was brought back into the main arena at Riesenbeck International for a last farewell.

    Wearing a rug that said “Merci, Comme Il Faut”, the stallion came into the ring with Marcus on board, to the music from Chariots of Fire.

    He stood in the winner’s position and ate grass as a video showing some of his major achievements was played — and neighed to the crowd, who stood three deep at the rails, as it finished.

    Among Marcus and Comme Il Faut’s career highlights was being on the German silver medal-winning team at the 2019 European Championships. They won and were placed in five-star grands prix across the world.

    After the video, legendary showjumper and the horse’s breeder Ludger Beerbaum came into the ring to pay his own tributes, and Comme Il Faut was fed carrots, after which he, with Marcus on board, bucked his way round a double lap of honour in front of the cheering crowd.

    Marcus told H&H it was emotional to see Comme Il Faut be retired.

    “You don’t have many horses like him in your life; it’s very special when you do,” he said, adding that the stallion will now concentrate on stud duties.

    “It’s always difficult to get the balance between sport and breeding, and now he’s at the age — and I think he deserves [retirement].”

    Marcus said it was hard to choose a top moment with the stallion; citing his World Cup win in Madrid and the grand prix in Brussels as two of his standout memories.

    “He’s had a few amazing jump-offs, he’s very competitive,” he said.

    “He’s a very calm horse, with a very good character; he always talks a lot, and he likes to have a play in the prize-giving, but mainly he’s an amazing horse. I’ll miss him.”

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