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‘Our charmer, our heartbreaker’: final tributes paid to champion stallion

Tributes have been paid to the “extraordinary” dressage stallion Romanov, who has been put down aged 20.

The son of Rohdiamant X Grundstein II, who had been based at Glock Horse Performance Center in Austria for the past nine years, was put down on 20 February owing to health issues arising from pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, formerly known as Cushing’s disease).

A spokesman for Glock said: “When is the time right to say farewell to your horse? Our hearts say never, yet we know that one day it will be time. Today was such a day. The day we had to bid farewell to our utterly beloved Glock’s Romanov. Our charmer, our heartbreaker is no more. He reached the age of 20, nine of those spent with us. Years for which we give our heartfelt thanks.

“Our Romanov was being treated by specialists. Unfortunately he became ever worse, with the consequence that on the advice of the veterinarians in attendance, we let him go over the rainbow bridge in order to spare him extended suffering. So it is that we say adieu and reflect with heavy hearts.”

The stallion, bred by Harli Seifert, was sold to the Blue Hors Stud in 2000. He had a distinguished career, taking reserve champion at the Oldenburg stallion licensing in 2002, and in 2004 was named best dressage stallion at the Danish licensing event. He was the champion of five-year-old dressage horses in Denmark in 2005, and in 2008 named VTV dressage stallion of the year.

Romanov had grand prix success with Danish rider Sune Hansen including winning the Media Cup in Hamburg, Germany in 2010, and the grand prix at the CDI3* Copenhagen in 2011. The combination appeared on the Danish team at the 2011 European Championships – but in a surprising move by Blue Hors, Dutch rider Edward Gal was later given the ride – the first time a Dutch rider had taken on a stallion from the stud.

Under Edward, the stallion achieved “new captivating form” achieving top-three placings at grands prix throughout 2012, and in 2013 Glock teammate Hans-Peter Minderhoud took on the ride, enjoying many successes including team silver at the 2013 European Championships.

“In addition to his performances in top dressage, Romanov was one of the most sought-after dressage sires in Denmark and a popular stud in Europe,” said the spokesman.

“The elegant Oldenburg stallion offered extraordinary foal crops and a considerable number of descendants, which are being presented successfully internationally.”

His successful offspring include Honnerups Driver, the 2009 champion five-year-old at the World Breeding Championships. Romanov sired more than 10 licensed sons on the German equestrian federation breeding register, and more than 100 registered mares – 20 of which are federal premium mares. Other success stories include the 2019 Danish warmblood stallion of the year Skovens Rafael.

The spokesman said Hans-Peter was with Romanov to the “last minute”.

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“It’s desperately sad and yet, at the same time, you know it’s right,” said Hans-Peter.

“Romanov was a really special stallion. Simply fantastic to ride and it was such a wonderful feeling to have the privilege of sitting in his saddle.

“He was a horse of such character, a real stallion and yet he really got to your heart. I stroked him till the last moment and told him we would see each other again.”

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