A horse like no other: farewell to Badminton champion aged 28

  • There are horses like no other – and Hildago De L’Ile was one of them.

    French event rider Nicolas Touzaint has paid tribute to his Badminton-winning superstar, who has died at the age of 28.

    The Selle Francais gelding died 15 years to the day after he won his Badminton title, which was also cross-country day at this year’s event.

    “You have to see that as a sign,” Nicolas said. “To the day, 15 years since this legendary victory.”

    Nicolas and “Toto” competed internationally for a decade, winning their first FEI event in 2002 and bowing out after the London Olympics in 2012, having jumped clear across country and in the showjumping to help the French team to eighth place.

    They also represented France at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, and the 2005 Europeans, where the team won silver. They won Pau CCI4* (now five-star) in 2007, scoring a home victory the first year the event ran at the top level, having come third at Aachen the same year.

    “There are horses like no other,” Nicolas said. “Hildago De L’Ile was one.

    “I was so proud to show this picture of him and his buddy the other day. But 48 hours later he passed away.

    “He was out of the ordinary to the end, a concrete physique, an extraordinary mind, an unlimited kindness. I owe him so much… I will never forget it…

    “See you soon, my Toto.”

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