Multi-medalled Olympic dressage horse retires: ‘He always did his very best’

The Danish Olympic team horse Donnperignon has been officially retired from dressage at the age of 19.

The Donnerhall gelding, who has been ridden by Anna Kasprzak since 2011, will receive a special retirement ceremony at the World Cup qualifier in Herning, Denmark, in October.

He has met all requirements, expectations and wishes,” said Anna of ‘Pepe’. “When we bought him, I hoped that he could teach me a lot, but I had not imagined that we should achieve that much together. He has been a great partner and I owe him the best retirement.”

The Finnish-bred gelding competed at every major annual dressage championship between 2010 and 2017, winning medals for Germany at the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) and 2011 Europeans with Christoph Koschel, before moving to Danish rider Anna, who was 21 at the time.

Anna and Pepe went on to become team stalwarts for Denmark, competing at two Olympic Games, three European Championships and a World Equestrian Games, plus two World Cup finals. Their last competition together was the 2017 Europeans in Gothenburg, Sweden, where they won team silver and also finished seventh in the freestyle with a score of 77.7%.

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“Pepe has always made me feel safe because I know him so well,” said Anna, who gave birth to her first child in May this year. “The same security is still under construction with my other horses, and it’s an exciting time and something I’m looking forward to have with them, but with Pepe, I knew that he would always go to the arena and do his very best for me.

“Pepe’s body and mind still enjoy activity, so as long as we can ride him, we will. Fortunately he is still healthy and strong, so he’ll keep getting some good walks.”

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