The 11-year-old gelding, by Balou Du Rouet, was bred in Australia by Melissa Froesch, and started his competition as an event horse with Andrew before switching to showjumping.
“I can still vividly remember the day Balou arrived at my yard – it was Valentine’s Day, we had lots of snow and it was minus eight degrees,” said Andrew.
“Balou had just come out of quarantine in Australia and a summer of 40 degrees – and arrived here in the worst possible wintery conditions the UK has got on offer.”
He added that they “quickly discovered” that Balou’s “true love and true talent” was in the showjumping arena.
“He is an exceptional horse in so many ways – exceptional in his talent, exceptional in his character, exceptional in his looks,” said Andrew.
“I have loved our trips around the European showjumping tours – there is nothing that compares to the feeling of jumping a fence with him – the sky is the limit.
“The 2024 season is upon us and with it being an Olympic year I would like to direct all my focus and all my time on to my eventing horses, so it was time to work on a next chapter for Balou, together with his most wonderful owner and dear friend Barbara Keller and the Hasenacher Stud.”
Andrew, who has been a Hasenacher Stud rider since 2014, will continue his partnership with the stud’s event horses.
Michael was Andrew and Barbara’s “first choice” of rider and Balou will join the eventing Rolex Grand Slam winner’s string of showjumpers.
“Michael is an exceptional rider and horseman and we both have so much respect for him: As a rider, as a person and as a friend,” said Andrew.
“Everyone at the Hoy team will be missing seeing Balou´s cheeky little face over his stable door – but we all are excited to follow his journey and see what he and Michael can achieve together.”
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