Laura Collett retires top horse and ‘best friend’ from eventing age 13

  • Mr Bass, the five-star partner and “best friend” of team Olympic gold medallist Laura Collett, has been retired from eventing aged 13.

    In 2019 the Carrico x Exorbitant XX gelding, owned by Keith Scott, Nick How and Laura, sustained a tendon injury during the cross-country phase at Badminton, and while he went on to make a full recovery and returned to the top of the sport, the injury has recently recurred.

    Laura told H&H the injury is not “too bad” but it was felt it was too big a risk to try to bring the gelding back to eventing.

    “The worry with bringing him back is that it could lead to a catastrophic injury and we’re not willing to put him in that position,” she said.

    “Obviously it’s a massive blow. He’s been a big part of my career; I’ve had him since he was a four-year-old and he’s just one of those horses that makes you feel like you can ride!”

    In September Laura and Mr Bass, known at home as “Chuck”, helped Britain take the honours in the CCIO4*-S Nations Cup in Aachen. The pair finished fourth and Laura was also second individually on Decapo.

    Laura and Chuck have enjoyed much success including winning the seven-year-old World Championships at Le Lion D’Angers in 2015 and taking second at the Blenheim eight- and nine-year-old CCI4*-S in 2016. The gelding proved consistent with many completions on his dressage score, including at his five-star debut at Luhmühlen in 2018 (then CCI4*) where the pair were second.

    After his injury in 2019, he made his comeback at Bicton in June 2020 and went on to enjoy two top-five finishes at CCI4*-S level. The pair rounded off the year at Pau Horse Trials five-star where they were 16th.

    Laura said her two biggest moments with Chuck were the seven-year-old World Championships and Luhmühlen in 2018.

    “There have been a lot of highs, but those two stand out. I’ve been very lucky. He is a bit of freak really, the amount of times he finished on his dressage score. He’s got an unbelievable record, there’s no other horse that loves the job as much as he does. The bigger the challenge the better he was” she said.

    “He’s like a human. He knows he’s special and that he’s top dog – and he makes sure everyone else knows he’s top dog. When anyone comes on the yard they’re drawn to him straight away, he’s always been like that from the moment he arrived. That’s why we named him Chuck Bass, because he’s so arrogant! With the very good ones they always have something extra, and he did right from the word go.”

    Laura said Chuck is currently undergoing rehabilitation for the injury.

    “Hopefully, depending on how he comes back, he may do some showjumping and some of the indoor derbies and fun classes, but he won’t event. He isn’t going anywhere though,” she said.

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