Eventing medal-winner retired: ‘He took me places I never thought I would go’

  • Raphael II, who won a young rider individual eventing bronze medal with Dani Evans, has been retired.

    The 13-year-old was rushed to B&W equine vets with colic last month and pulled through after two operations, after which Dani and owner Vanessa Watson decided to retire him for top-level competition.

    “He will now go on and enjoy his time with Vanessa in the saddle,” said Dani.

    “Thank you Vanessa for eight years of highs, lows and the best years of my life. He has been an incredible horse and I really can’t thank you or him enough for taking me places I never thought I would go.

    I am going to miss him hugely and its going to be very odd not having him on the lorry with his excited wiggly nose!”

    Raphael is by the KWPN stallion Krunch De Breve out of a mare by Niagara.

    He started his eventing career with Dani in 2008 and the highlights were an individual bronze medal at the 2012 European Championships in Malmö, Sweden, and second place in the under-25 CCI3* at Bramham in 2013. That year he also stood third in the prestigious CIC3* at Chatsworth.

    He was third in the under-25 class at Bramham last year, when stable-mate Smart Time was second. He also represented Britain on Nations Cup teams, including contributing to the team’s victory at Montelibretti in 2013.

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    The bay gelding was Dani’s first four-star horse, starting Badminton with her in both 2014 and this year, when he was equal sixth after dressage. Falls put paid to a completion on both occasions.

    Dani, 24, is based in Gloucestershire and was due to make her senior British squad debut at the European Championships at Blair last year with Luana Edge’s Smart Time.

    However, the horse “wasn’t quite himself” on the day of the first horse inspection, so had to be withdrawn.


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