‘Few horses have won so much for their country’: farewell to multiple medal-winner

The multi-medalled British para dressage horse LJT Lucas Normark has been put to sleep aged 18.

With rider Anne Dunham, the Knabstrupper stallion won nine championship medals for Britain, including team gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and the 2013 and 2015 Europeans, as well as a total of six individual silver medals.

“There are very few horses out there who have won so many medals for their country,” said Anne who, as a grade I rider, was a stalwart of the British para team until her retirement from competition in 2016.

“Lucas had a long-term problem with one of his back legs, which was getting worse. He was much loved and fussed over; it was a very hard decision to take, and terribly sad.”

A Danish-bred son of Ravaldi, Lucas, who featured on the cover of H&H magazine in December 2016, was owned by the Lady Joseph Trust and Henrietta Cheetham, without whom Anne said none of their success together would have been possible.

“The Lady Joseph Trust has done more for para dressage than almost anybody,” she said.

“Lucas was a star, though not an angel — he could occasionally nip and although he was very good to ride, being a stallion he did sometimes makes trot-ups interesting!

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“He could be hard work sometimes, but I’ll never forget my first test on him at the Rio Paralympics — it was so hot and we were both streaming with sweat but Lucas just set off in his rhythm and never wavered from it. He was a lovely boy.

“He had his own fan club, and because of his colour we could never go anywhere incognito. But that was one of the things I loved about him — that he always stood out in a crowd,” Anne told H&H.

Lucas’ final competitive outings were in 2018 with the triple European gold medallist Suzanna Hext. The pair were unbeaten in their three shows together, scoring up to 79% in grade II.

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