‘He never let me down’: Farewell to top event horse

  • Tributes have been paid to one of the United States’ greatest event horses, Ballynoe Castle RM, following his death aged 21.

    On 23 April, Buck Davidson announced that “Reggie” had died peacefully in his field at Buck’s farm in Ocala, Florida.

    The Ramiro B gelding, owned by Carl and Cassandra Segal, was imported from Ireland in 2006 for Buck. Together they worked their way up to the top of the sport competing in almost 100 events, including Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley horse trials, as well as representing the US at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Reggie has been top of the United States Eventing Association’s (USEA) High Point Historical Horse Leaderboard for the last six years, and was USEA horse of the year in 2011.

    Buck, who was competing at Kentucky last weekend with two rides when he found out Reggie had died, told H&H the gelding had been in “great health” and was ridden by his long-term groom Kathleen Blauth the week before.

    “He looked fantastic,” he said. “He was in a big field in Ocala with his friend My Boy Bobby, and he just lay down and went to sleep.

    “I still remember when we got him, I was at an event in Georgia and Kathleen called me to say he had arrived and he was ‘so cute’, and from that day they were inseparable. She rode him down the aisle on her wedding day, her kids rode him, he was her best friend. The things Kathleen did for him, and me, made the story what it was.”

    Buck described Reggie as an “amazing animal” who “never let me down”.

    “He did well on the playing field, but he was also a people’s horse that helped the sport. I still see truck drivers who had shipped him to various places around the world that remember him. He was one of a kind,” he said.

    “We had some great days at Kentucky, Burghley and Badminton – he always had the situation sussed out and operated accordingly. I’ve never had a horse that was smarter or tried harder.”

    Buck and Reggie’s final event together was the 2016 USEA American Eventing Championships where they were fourth, and Kathleen went on to enjoy success with Reggie at training level events. He was officially retired at a ceremony at the 2017 Kentucky Three-Day Event, where Kathleen and Reggie performed the five-star dressage test as a test rider.

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    “When Kentucky Horse Park said they wanted to hold his retirement and to get to see Kathleen do the test ride was amazing. He was magic that day, as he was every day,” said Buck.

    “He’s just been a staple, he brought everybody happiness. If you rode with me and needed another horse to practise on, Reggie was always the one; Alexandra Knowles, Holly Jacks, Hawley Bennett – whoever was getting ready for Kentucky would practise their five-star test on Reggie.

    “He was huge in my personal life, professional life, and will be missed. I can’t ever see that there will ever be another Reggie, what he’s done and the friendships that have developed and lasted because of him.”

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