‘A great loss to British breeding’: much-loved stallion dies aged 19

  • Leading stallion Sir Shutterfly has died aged 19, in what has been described as a “great loss to British breeding”.

    Sir Shutterfly (Silvio I x Forrest XX), a full brother to Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum’s legendary ride Shutterfly, qualified for Germany’s Bundeschampionate for five-year-olds and went on to compete to 1.50m in showjumping, before moving to a career as a breeding stallion.

    Fairlight Stud owner Jo Sholls-Evan told H&H the loss of “Fly” will be felt by the stud, and by the wider community.

    “For me one of the most important things is that he is remembered for having the most fantastic character,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever met a horse who loved life quite like he did.

    “He never ran out of energy but he was incredibly easy, my husband Martin used to fling on his tack and take him for a hack. My small children could go into the stable and groom him and it never worried me because he was so kind.

    “The best thing about him was every time you walked on the yard his head was straight over the stable door. He was a horse who used to make eye contact with you, he had an ability to make a connection with people.”

    Fairlight Stud bought Fly seven years ago when he had finished a two-year loan period at Drumhowan Stud in Ireland and had been due to return to his owner Paul Schockemöhle in Germany.

    Sir Shutterfly has produced a number of successful offspring competing in international eventing and showjumping. Csf Sir George and Darragh Ryan took silver in the five-year-old class at the 2018 World Breeding Federation (WBFSH) Championships for young showjumping horses in Lanaken, Belgium. In 2017 Sir Papillon and Laura Collett were fourth in the six-year-old class at the young horse eventing championships at Le Lion d’Angers, France, and in the same year Shutterflyke and Mirsolav Trunda took eighth in the seven-year-olds’ class.

    “When you’re a mare owner you have to look at your mare’s good points and bad points, work out what you’re breeding for then find a suitable stallion. I personally wouldn’t waste my time with a stallion that wasn’t going to be able to produce what I was looking for, and that was one of the things I felt was so unique about Fly; he jumped well himself and he comes from a very long line of extremely good horses. He’s been an incredibly reliable producer of competition horses,” said Jo.

    Jo said during his breeding duties, Fly’s manners were always “impeccable”.

    “You could bring him down to the dummy on a headcollar and he’d stand and wait politely. There’s not many stallions around who are that polite all the time,” she said. “He also had the most hilarious sense of humour, he would pick a brush up and look so funny with it in his mouth as if he was saying “do I need to brush myself?”.

    “If you took his tack to the stable he would get very excited because he knew he was going to be ridden. It didn’t matter where you went; he enjoyed hacking and going in the arena but fences were his favourite thing. The minute he knew he was going to be jumped he was very happy! He never bucked, reared, napped or spun – he really was perfect. Obviously I think he was amazing because he was mine, but he was so much more than just his ability to produce offspring.”

    Since announcing Fly’s death Jo said she has received messages from around the world about him.

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    “I’ve been overwhelmed with the most fantastic messages from people saying that they’ve used him and how lovely their offspring are,” she said. “That’s the sort of thing that makes me feel really happy as a stallion owner to think other people have had that same level of pleasure of being part of his life. It’s very comforting to think that your horse‘s spirit is living on in his youngstock.”

    A spokesman for the British Breeding Futurity said the organisation was “incredibly saddened” to hear about Fly.

    “A great loss to British breeding, our thoughts are with Jo at the very sad time,” he said.

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