Four-star eventer retires from top-level ‘with a smile on his face’

  • Laura Collett’s consistent advanced campaigner Grand Manoeuvre has been retired from top-level competition due to soundness issues.

    The 14-year-old gelding, owned by Diana and David Chappell, gave Laura her first senior championship completion at the 2015 Blair Castle Europeans, where they finished 13th individually.

    The pair competed at Badminton twice, in 2015 and 2016, where they jumped clear across country on both occasions.

    “He has been great,” Laura told H&H. “I was very lucky to get the ride on him. Jumping him around Badminton twice — he was an unbelievable horse to ride — and the Blair Europeans were highlights of my time with him.”

    “Milo” was competed by Nick Gauntlett until mid-2014, with Laura taking over the ride after the horse’s first Badminton.

    He had numerous top 10 placings at three-star level with both riders and was long-listed for the 2016 Rio Olympics with Laura. His final run was in the last leg of the 2017 CIC3* Event Rider Masters series at Blenheim in September.

    “He has always struggled physically as he has a very odd pair of front feet, so it has always been quite challenging keeping him on the road,” said Laura, adding Milo was a bit sore one day last week.

    “We always said when he said [he couldn’t do it any more], that we wouldn’t push him — he owes us nothing.”

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    The plan is to give him a bit of time off, we know it is the jumping and galloping [that cause his problems] and we would like to find him a loan home where he can do some dressage on surfaces, so he doesn’t have the intensity of jumping and galloping work.

    “In his head he is still a four-year-old and so full of himself — he is an absolute darling and is the nicest horse to have in the stable.

    “He has a smile on his face every single day, he is always happy regardless, and it makes you smile — he is so full of enthusiasm that it made my time as his rider so pleasurable.”

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

    This week’s edition (10 May) features our full report from Badminton, including in-depth analysis, expert comment, pictures and more. Plus, read our feature on the options for retiring your horse and in this week’s vet clinic we look into the challenges of equine surgery

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