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‘You will always be in my heart’: Olympic medal-winning dressage star dies aged 29


  • Hans Peter Minderhoud has announced the death of Nadine, the mare who launched his career and took him to his first Olympics in 2008.

    “Last week our wonderful Nadine left us for ever at the proud age of 29,” said Hans Peter. “After a severe case of colic, we had the heartbreaking decision to have to put her to sleep.

    “We are deeply saddened, but equally grateful for 21 years together full of joyous moments, successes and friendship.”

    Nadine (Partout x Roemer) was bred by Gerard Vervoon in the Netherlands. She had two foals – Salvia (by Havidoff, born 1999) and Tibouchina (by Osmium, born 2000) – before she started her competitive career.

    Hans Peter Minderhoud took over Nadine when she was eight, competing her under the prefix “Exquis”. The combination shot to stardom when the Netherlands took European gold at Turin in 2007 – beating Germany at a major championships for the first time in 42 years.

    At the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong they were on the Dutch silver medal-winning team and finished seventh in the freestyle with 75.15%.

    Nadine became a reliable team horse and was reserve for the 2009 European Championships and was on the team that won gold at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

    She was a crowd favourite from the start and packed a fiery character into a petite frame.

    Hans Peter Minderhoud: “I am eternally grateful for all the unforgettable moments”

    Her freestyle performance at the 2009 World Cup Finals where she scored a career-best 81.05% to place fourth stands out as a career highlight. Featuring excerpts from The Turtles’ Happy Together, their performance went viral and has so far racked up more than one million views on YouTube. In the video, the crowd can be heard breaking into applause and cheers at several points, which Nadine lapped up with aplomb.

    At the 2011 European Championships in Rotterdam, they were on the team that won the bronze; this was Nadine’s last competition and she retired at 16. The occasion was marked by a ceremony in Rotterdam after the freestyle. Hans Peter led Nadine out in hand to meet a sold-out Dutch crowd one last time. Hans Peter then bought Nadine from his owner A M Kies so she could stay with him in retirement.

    “Nadine enjoyed the last 13 years with her friends Flirt, Undercover, Next One and Tony in the meadows of the Glock Horse Performance Centre (GHPC),” Hans Peter said.

    “I want to thank the whole GHPC team for looking after Nadine day in, day out – especially Anna [Visser] who was by Nadine’s side for 20 years and was her closest friend. Nadine couldn’t have had it any better.

    “It’s hard to walk past the pasture and know Nadine is no longer there. But I am eternally grateful for all the unforgettable moments that this fantastic mare gave us. We will honour her memories for ever.

    “My dear Nadine, I hope you are reunited with your friends up there. Thank you for everything. You will always be in my heart and I will never forget you.”

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