Promising top-level event horse put down: ‘He was a little tiger’

The event horse Director General, ridden by Izzy Taylor and owned by Jennie Thorn, has been put down aged 12 after breaking a hindleg.

Izzy gained the ride on “Bernie” last season and the pair took eighth in the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Belton and fifth at Tattersalls at the same level. Director General’s year culminated in third place in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Blair Castle in Scotland.

“He was a little tiger,” said Izzy. “He was only a little horse and as a combination we did a lot in a short space of time. He had a happy, cheerful way of life and was always wanting to go and do things, which was great and really showed cross-country.

“He was phenomenal cross-country and was one of those horses that loved it and I had a really good connection with — one of those horses with whom you get the feeling that you fit each other. He wasn’t everyone’s type — he was little, thoroughbred, but I really enjoyed riding him and he was a horse who always made me smile when I took him cross-country.

“He was very green, but always wanting to do it, I was always having to say ‘Hang on a minute, you’re not quite ready for that yet’.” 

Izzy was aiming Director General at Burghley this year, while planning to give him experience in the Event Rider Masters series and at other CCI4*-S (old CIC3* level) through the year.

Director General was a thoroughbred gelding who was bred in the USA, by Bernstein out of a mare called Champagne Royal (by Jeblar) and raced on the Flat in Britain in 2010 and 2011 before turning his hand to eventing.

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He was bought as a four-year-old and started his eventing career under Albertine Blanchard, before joining Dannie Morgan in 2013. Director General scored his first win in 2014 when he took the CIC* (now CCI2*-S) at Hambleden with Dannie.

He was ridden by Neil Spratt in the latter half of 2014, plus for all of 2015 and 2016 and moved up to CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) level, achieving plenty of placings and a win in an intermediate section at Withington in April 2016.

Director General spent the 2017 season with Amelia Walker, finishing eighth in the CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Hartpury and 11th in his first advanced, at Little Downham in October, with a double jumping clear.

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