Farewell to horse who was ‘part of the family’ after 10-year career at the top

  • The Whitakers have said a final goodbye to a “big part of the family” as Robert’s long-term top-level ride Catwalk IV has died aged 19.

    The Holsteiner gelding had been retired for about a year and a half, after a 10-year international career that had included wins and placings all over the world.

    His record shows his versatility; he was successful in everything from Nations Cups to puissances and from six-bars to five-star grands prix.

    “He was very tough,” Robert told H&H, referring to the length of Catwalk’s career. “He was a strong character and very sound.”

    Robert took on the Holsteiner gelding, who was owned by his mother Clare and Mandy Hall, as a six-year-old, by which time he was already showing his huge scope.

    Robert Whitaker Catwalk IV

    “He had all the ability,” Robert said. “He did a bit of everything; he could be a bit spooky so we jumped him in all sorts of classes, to get him in the ring sometimes!

    “He had a bit about him and he was nice to ride, with a good canter. He was a bit spooky in the ring but I think that’s one thing that made him so good. And once he was about 10 and had learned his job, he came into his prime.”

    Robert cited his Nations Cup team wins in St Gallen and Rome as highlights, as well as winning the Lausanne five-star grand prix in 2016 and the Helsinki World Cup leg and grand prix in 2019.

    He felt it was the right time to retire Catwalk last year; his last show was the 2021 Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, and the gelding had spent a happy retirement in the field, until his age caught up with him.

    “You were a big part of the family and will truly be missed,” Robert said. “Thank you for all the happy memories, you were a horse of a lifetime. Rest easy.”

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