The great four-star campaigner Happy Times was retired in a ceremony at Burghley today (Sunday, 2 September), aged 19.

The German-bred Happy Times, by Heraldik, was ridden by Australia’s Sam Griffiths and owned by Sam, Dinah Posford and Juliet Donald.

He first made an impact on the international scene when he was fourth in the seven-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers in 2006.

Two years later he won the CCI3* at Saumur, one of three three-star wins he scored in his career — he also took Chatsworth’s World Cup class in 2010 and Belton’s Grantham Cup in 2010.

Happy Times was immediately successful when he moved up to four-star in 2009, taking third at both Badminton and Burghley.

Happy Times retired

Sam Griffiths and Happy Times at Badminton 2009. Picture by David Miller

Over the next eight years, he became a regular fixture on the top-level circuit. He was third again at Burghley in 2014 and also scored five other top-20 places at Badminton and Burghley, including fourth at Burghley 2011.

Happy Times also represented Australia at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA, in 2010 and at the London 2012 Olympics.

He stepped down from four-star competitions in 2017 and contested the one-day event circuit last season and this year.

He won the advanced class at Gatcombe’s Festival of British Eventing last year under Shane Rose when Sam Griffiths was injured.

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Today, Happy Times was cheered around the Burghley arena as Sam trotted and cantered him for the crowd one last time, before he was unsaddled led out.

“There could be no better place than here to honour Happy Times’ career and retire him,” said commentator Spencer Sturmey.

Groom Imogen Mercer, who has looked after “Happy” for six years was also present.

Full report from Burghley, including exclusive expert comment and full analysis of every phase, in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out Thursday, 6 September.