Top grand prix horse retires: ‘The best journey full of laughter and fun’

  • Australian dressage rider Lyndal Oatley has paid tribute to her “big-hearted” championship ride Eros on his retirement owing to an old injury.

    The pair were regulars on the podium at international grands prix across Europe, with their achievements as a partnership headed by their win in the grand prix freestyle at Lier in March 2022.

    “To this day I am still in awe of your spirit ‘Uncle Ross’ and the impact you had on people who had and hadn’t met you. So instead of just letting time pass, I will give you the send-off you deserve,” said Lyndal.

    “I fell in love with your infectious personality from day one when you entered my life to help me come back into the sport after having our daughter Emilia. You went above and beyond from day one and we had the best journey full of laughter and fun.”

    The Sir Oldenburg son started his sporting career as an eventer and then had a stint as a para dressage horse, before joining Lyndal as a 10-year-old. At the time, Lyndal was pregnant and wanted to find a horse she could develop and come back into the sport with, but had no championship intentions at that point.

    Lyndal, who has competed at numerous Olympics and World Equestrian Games, partnered the 14-year-old gelding as part of the Australian team at the 2022 World Championships in Herning.

    The pair scored 72.19% in the grand prix, but were eliminated in the grand prix special after the horse showed some irregular movement.

    Lyndal said “Ross” would fight for her “like the big-hearted unicorn” he is, while still keeping his “cheeky mentality”.

    “You were always you, and I think people fell in love with you a little more, little grey unicorn,” she said.

    “After Herning we searched and searched to find out what caused you intermittent unevenness. It wasn’t until six months later and every test known to man that we found you had a broken rib caused by a truck accident.

    “We tried all available treatments and searched the world for possible options but sadly they did not work and so you are now having the retirement you deserved.

    “Thank you to all that have been on this journey with Rossi and I, but especially thanks Ross for being you.”

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