Top dressage rider says farewell to grand prix star

  • Leading dressage rider Hans Peter Minderhoud has paid tribute to the shy stallion who grew into one of his top horses.

    Glock’s Tango was put down this month aged 18 due to ongoing health problems.

    The Dutch rider took Tango on as a three-year-old and remembers how spooky he was at his first stallion performance test.

    “It was terrible,” said Hans Peter. “I wasn’t at all sure how things could work with him at tournaments. But with time he became more trusting and his quirks became a thing of the past.”

    Groom Anna Visser looked after the stallion from his arrival and accompanied him to all the major shows.

    “Tango and Anna were a super team,” added Hans Peter. “She loved him.”

    Tango went on to compete in young horse classes and took part in his first grand prix as a 10-year-old.

    “Tango was a stallion and you noticed it, but he always behaved,” said Hans Peter.

    “He learned the exercises incredibly fast.

    He had a lot of talent for the passage-piaffe and, above all, the passage was easy-going. Tango didn’t have the largest canter but it was very easy to teach him the canter exercises, like pirouettes and changes of leg.”

    The combination took the Dutch national champion title in 2011 and won the World Cup freestyle qualifier at the Odense leg of the series the same year.

    They came sixth at the final, held in s’Hertogenbosch, and also had numerous other top 10 finishes at international grands prix.

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    “In terms of sport it was a bit of a shame for Tango that I also had Nadine [Eqxuis Nadine] at the same time,” said Hans Peter.

    “She was the more reliable horse, so she got chosen for the big championships like the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and the 2011 European Championships in Rotterdam. Otherwise he would certainly have gone to several championships.”

    He added Tango could be naughty, but was “never dangerous or mean”.

    “He was often frisky, jumping and playing around, but he was always under control,” he said.

    He loved sugar above all, behaved like a gentleman with his grooms and rider, but displayed his dominance around other stallions.

    “For me he was a special horse — he was my first horse when I set myself up as self-employed.

    “I relocated many times and he was always there, as indeed [he was] when we moved to the Glock Horse Performance Center Netherlands.

    “He was a big part of my life and my career. It is a pleasure to be able to experience how a horse can develop from a young, timid and anxious creature into a horse that’s even a little macho, like Tango was later on.

    “As a youngster he was frightened by applause, but a little later he started to enjoy it. I can only say ‘thank you’ for many wonderful years and ‘farewell’. We will miss him.”

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