Champion miniature stallion dies from colic aged 23

  • Tributes have been paid to the prolific miniature stallion and Horse of the Year Show champion Farthingwood Romeo who has died aged 23.

    The son of Sabre of Chetwynd, out of Grimpowood Charlotte Louise, was put down after developing colic on 29 August.

    Sarah and Peter Howard of Snowbella Miniatures and SBM Arabians bought Farthingwood Romeo from his breeder Amanda Woof at the International Miniature Horse & Pony Society annual show auction in 1998, where he was named best foal.

    Sarah told H&H it was as if Romeo “was made for them”.

    “He did not have an easy start and was very unwell that autumn when he developed intestinal problems and was given only a five percent chance of survival, but he was a fighter,” she said.

    “We did not really know whether he would become a show horse but we hoped so. We knew his movement and conformation were second to none and we sent him to pony producer Richard North. From then on he was very ably produced and handled throughout his showing career by Sam and Julian Quiney with Sam’s mother Di providing welcome support.”

    In 1999 Romeo won his yearling class at the Royal Windsor Horse Show and stood reserve champion. The same year he took several titles including supreme at the All Miniatures Breed Show in Doncaster, and junior champion, grand champion and international reserve supreme of champion of champions at the British Miniature Horse Society (BMHS) breed and international show.

    The following year Romeo became the first ever miniature horse champion at the Horse of the Year Show at Wembley.

    “We shall never forget how small, confident and magnificent he looked as he participated in the grand parade of champions on the Sunday evening, alongside all the other in-hand and ridden champions and with the drum horse of the Kings Troop towering above,” said Sarah, who added Romeo took three further championships and two reserve titles that year.

    In 2001 Romeo bettered his 1999 result at the BMHS breed and international show, when he took international supreme champion of champions. That year he was also a HOYS finalist. In 2002 he stood champion at the Kent County show, and his first offspring, a skewbald colt, was born who went on to qualify for HOYS in 2003.

    “We rarely showed after 2002 when we took our miniatures to France where we have a property,” said Sarah, who returned to the UK in 2010 to form SBM Arabians.

    “Romeo enjoyed an honourable retirement with us. He had a very determined but lovable personality. In the show ring if he was not initially pulled in at the top of the line he would look around as if to say ‘What am I doing here?’. He will be greatly missed by us and by the many people who knew him.”

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