From pre-novice to Badminton: eventer pays tribute to top horse after cross-country tragedy

  • Olympic eventer Kathryn Robinson has paid tribute to her stable star Let It Bee, who died at Burnham Market on Friday (30 March).

    Kathryn and “Bee” represented Canada at the top of the sport across the world.

    They competed at five CCI4*s, including jumping double clear at Badminton in 2016, as well as the Rio 2016 Olympics and 29 three-stars during Bee’s 10-year career.

    CIC3* Event Rider Masters’ section at the 2017 Ssangyong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials

    “We have been learning along the way together,” Kathryn told H&H.

    “He taught me a lot and I hope I taught him something — he was such a big horse, but so eager to please.

    “He took me to places I would never have expected.”

    Rio Olympics 2016

    Kathryn, who is based in the UK, bought Bee from Germany in 2008 as a green seven-year-old as she was looking for a horse with whom to build her confidence and compete in a few pre-novices (now BE100) and novices.

    “I went to try him and he was very ugly and there was a lot of work to be done,” added Kathryn.
    “I took a bit of a gamble; he didn’t pass the vet, so I bought him for €7,000 (£6,144).”

    The pair had seven top-10 finishes at pre-novice and novice level in their first season together, before moving up through the levels.

    Their best CCI4* place was at Pau in 2014, where they jumped double clear to finish seventh.

    They also enjoyed a string of successes at three-star level, including five top-10 placings.

    Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2016

    Kathryn said riding Bee at her first Badminton in 2016 was her highlight of their competitive career.

    It was my childhood dream and I never ever thought he would get there — he took it all in his stride,” she added. “I couldn’t have asked him for more.”

    Kathryn added Bee was “more like a pet” than a horse and a “total gentleman” to have around.

    Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2016

    The 17-year-old gelding was competing under Kathryn in an advanced section at Burnham Market on Friday (30 March) when he collapsed and died on the cross-country course, between fences 13 and 14.

    Kathryn, who was uninjured, said she wanted to thank everyone for the support and kind messages she has received.

    “I’m really touched by [the response from] the eventing community and how many people have contacted me, and to know how far Bee was known,” said Kathryn, adding it is helping her through this sad time.

    “We don’t do this sport for the money, it is for the support you get, from your friends, team and family, and for the horses.”

    A statement from Cranford Stud Eventing, which is run by Kathryn and her partner Italian eventer Giovanni Ugolotti, said the team were “absolutely devastated to say goodbye” to Bee.

    “He wasn’t just a horse, he was Kathryn’s baby, and best friend,” added the statement.

    “He will be terribly missed by us all.”

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

    You may like...