Dressage star says final farewell to ‘most difficult, but most important’ horse of her career

  • German dressage star Isabell Werth’s Olympic, world and European gold medal-winning ride Satchmo 78 has died aged 28.

    The “good-looking, sensitive, lovely” Hanoverian gelding, owned by Madeleine Winter-Schulze and bred by Albert Kampert, spent 25 years with Isabell and the partnership were a fundamental part of the German team.

    “This horse taught me humility,” said Isabell. “He was the most difficult, but also the most important horse in my career from the point of view of the trainer and the rider.”

    The pair’s dazzling medal collection included individual and team gold at the home World Championships in Aachen in 2006. The following year, they collected individual gold, plus freestyle and team silver at the European Championships in Turin, going on to take Olympic individual silver and team gold at the 2008 Games.

    They also finished second in the 2009 World Cup final in Las Vegas, claimed countless international wins and broke the grand prix world record with their performance at Stuttgart in 2005, where they scored 79.958%. The record now stands at 87.46%, set by Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro at Olympia in 2014.

    Satchmo returned to Stuttgart aged 17 to bid farewell to competition in a special retirement ceremony.

    “I just think it’s wonderful when the horses say goodbye to the sport in a sporty fit and are left with great memories. The horses deserve that too,” Isabell added.

    She said that “with a heavy heart” they had to say goodbye to Satchmo on Saturday (30 July).

    “My dear Satchi, just the day before you were running happily on the meadow with your beloved Kelly when I made my way to the training camp for the World Championships in Herning. How nice to see you like this,” she said.

    “I remembered Aachen 2006 again. What a unique experience we had there. What emotions! We had enough of that in our time together – in every respect. After 25 years together, the fact that I could not be with you at this crucial moment weighs particularly heavily in my heart.

    “Bon voyage my great, brilliant fighter and thank you for everything.”

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