‘Some goodbyes are harder than others’: medal-winning horse sold after Olympic contract not renewed

  • Medal-winning Dutch team horse Long John Silver 3 has been sold to Switzerland, as part of a flurry of recent top horse moves.

    Jur Vrieling and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding helped their country to team silver at the 2022 World Championships and were also part of the Dutch side at that year’s Nations Cup final, and the 2023 European Championships.

    The horse previously had NOP (Dutch Olympic Horse) status, which is a way in which the Netherlands helps secure horses for teams. But the contract only ran until this year’s European Championships.

    A statement from the Dutch federation (KNHS) said that the sale is “a loss first and foremost” for Jur, “but also for the Dutch team […] which has gratefully made use of the qualities of the powerful Holsteiner and his experienced rider in recent years”.

    “Although the KNHS has done everything possible to extend the NOP status for this top horse, the owner decided differently,” said the KNHS statement.

    “A decision that is unfortunate, but that we can only respect, and we must not forget that the owner made this great horse available to Vrieling and subsequently also to the Dutch team. A big thank you is due for this.”

    Jur added that the horse has “been one of the best partners and friend I’ve had”.

    “Thank you for the great results over this years together and all the good things you’ve done for me, my team and the Dutch team,” he said.

    “Some goodbyes are harder than others but I’m sure you will make your new rider as happy as you did all of us. Happy you will go to a really nice home with even nicer people.”

    Other recent moves include Mount St John Freestyle to Denmark’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour and five-star winning eventer Charly Van Ter Heiden to Ecuador’s Ronald Zabala-Goetschel in the US. Both have had their first competitive outings with their new riders, with Cathrine and Mount St John Freestyle scoring +76% in their first national grand prix this month.

    Irish eventer Padraig McCarthy’s consistent five-star campaigner HHS Noble Call is on the market as an Olympic prospect, as is British-based Zimbabwean event rider Julia Norman’s top-level ride Ardeo Berlin.

    Sportpferde Galleria withdrew three potential Olympic dressage horses, Galleria’s Bohemian, Rossetti and Vincent Maranello, from a proposed auction, with all three remaining for sale privately.

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