‘We’re full of grief and horror’: dressage medallist and top breeding stallion dies unexpectedly, aged 13

  • The European silver medal-winning stallion Glock’s Zonik has been put down, aged 13.

    The Blue Hors Zack x Romanov son, who was the championship ride of the Netherlands’ Edward Gal in 2018 and 2019, suffered a catastrophic injury following surgery on 13 July.

    “It is so unbelievable and so unreal. We are in deep shock, full of grief and horror,” said a statement from Glock Horse Performance Centre, owners of Zonik.

    “Zonik became lame shortly before CHIO Rotterdam [in early July] and, following suspicion of a problem with a hoof, thorough examination led to diagnosis of an injury. We decided to have him operated upon and, to this end, transported him to Germany to what is indeed one of the most renowned equine veterinary clinics. The operation went well but, in the recovery box, Zonik injured himself so badly that we could only put him out of his misery. He had broken both of his hind legs.

    “We have lost our wonderful stallion, this exceptional sire, our sporting partner. We are deeply saddened and shaken to the core by the loss of our great equine friend.”

    Bred in Denmark by Linette Jaeger, Glock’s Zonik was Danish young horse champion as a four-year-old with Andreas Helgstrand, before being sold to Gaston Glock. He competed at the World Breeding Championships as a five-year-old under Hans Peter Minderhoud, before Edward Gal took over the ride.

    The pair made a winning international grand prix debut in 2017 and, later that same year, Edward and Zonik won the grand prix at Olympia. In 2018 they finished eighth at the World Cup Final, and also swept the board at the prestigious Rotterdam Nations Cup leg.

    They were selected for the Dutch team at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA, where they finished seventh individually in both the grand prix and the special, and led the Netherlands to a fifth place team finish, and Tokyo Olympic qualification.

    In 2019, they won team silver on home soil at the European Championships, finishing fourth individually in the grand prix with 78.76% – just 0.1% ahead of his sire, Blue Hors Zack, in fifth with Daniel Bachmann Andersen. Edward and Zonik were also sixth in the grand prix freestyle, scoring 84.27%.

    The pair’s final show before  the coronavirus pandemic – and final appearance as a combination – was at the Amsterdam World Cup qualifier in January 2021, where they posted a personal best of over 85% for third.

    Article continues below…

    You might also be interested in:

    With Edward concentrating on his younger, upcoming horses in 2021, including his Tokyo Olympics ride Total US, Hans Peter took over the ride on Zonik, competing at Compiègne CDI3* and Le Mans CDI4* in May and June this year. At Le Mans, the Zonik’s competition, he won both the grand prix and the freestyle.

    Glock’s Zonik has sired many hugely successful dressage horses, including the world young horse champion Zucchero, and has more than 20 licensed sons.

    “He still had such a bright future ahead of him, but it was not to be,” added Glock Horse Performance Centre. “Rest in peace and shine like a star, because that is what you were; a star, truly a king. Now we have to carry on without you, and that is hard, very hard.”

    Both Edward and Hans Peter are members of the Dutch Olympic team currently in Tokyo. Edward rides the Totilas son Total US and Hans Peter will partner Glock’s Dream Boy. Zonik’s sire, Blue Hors Zack, will also be in action in Tokyo, ridden by Nanna Skodberg Merrald for Denmark.

     Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find out more about getting the magazine delivered to your door every week.

    You may like...