Tributes paid to dressage sire and ‘nation’s sweetheart’

  • A dressage stallion and “national treasure” has died aged 25.

    Laetitia Van Der Wyck’s Don Primaire was a popular sire in the Netherlands and had numerous progeny.

    He was Dutch national champion in 2000, after which he became very popular with breeders.

    Laetitia, who owned “Donny” for 11 years, described the KWPN as her “horse of a lifetime”.

    “He was a popular breeding stallion and was a national treasure in Holland in his heyday,” she said.

    “Everybody knows him there, from grooms to trainers and riders, a bit like Valegro’s fame, the nation’s sweetheart.

    “But for me he was the perfect gentleman, the perfect schoolmaster and my best friend who taught me what dressage was about.”

    Donny, who was by Donnerhall and out of La Fayette, took Laetitia from novice to prix st georges.

    She explained that he was a pleasure to be around and “would have killed for bananas”.

    “His temperament was second to none and lives on through his numerous progeny,” Laetitia said.

    “I owned him for 11 years and have so many memories to cherish.

    “One funny anecdote shows what a mannerly stallion he was. One day he was tied to the horsebox but we hadn’t realised the horse who was tied to the trailer two metres away was a mare. We could see him looking at her, then looking at me, like he was saying, ‘Am I supposed to show interest? But I am at a show!’”

    Laetitia also sadly lost Remiro this week. “What he lacked in size he made up with his huge cheeky personality,” she said.

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    Donny was put down due to age-related complications.

    “He was the favourite on our yard and died aged 25 having been retired in the field for the last four years,” added Laetitia.

    “Farewell Donny, you will never be forgotten.”

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