‘I’ll love him for eternity’: Top dressage horse dies following Tokyo Olympics withdrawal

  • A horse who was withdrawn from the Olympic dressage just three days before the start of competition owing to laminitis has died.

    The Tokyo Games was planned to be 19-year-old Ramoneur 6’s final competition, ridden by South Africa’s Tanya Seymour. Germany-based Tanya reported that the Rohdiamant x Alabaster gelding had arrived at the Games after quarantine at Aachen and flying from Liége in Belgium, and was “looking fresh and feeling great”. 

    But days before they were due to compete for South Africa, Tanya said that she could sense something was “amiss” during a training session, and Ramoneur was subsequently diagnosed with laminitis. 

    “Unfortunately in Tokyo Ramoneur got laminitis, with no previous indications of anything. We brought him home, and gave him 200% care but on Monday, suddenly things changed for the worse and I decided it was enough. He did not deserve this at the end of such an amazing career,” said Tanya, explaining that Ramoneur was put down on 6 September.

    “We were with him to the end and he passed on in my arms. I will love him and be grateful to him to the end of eternity.

    “They say you have have that one special horse in a lifetime and Ramoneur was mine. I’m absolutely heartbroken and devastated… words cannot describe it,” she said of the gelding she has partnered for 12 years. They made history at the Rio Olympics in 2016 when Tanya became the first dressage rider to represent South Africa at an Olympic Games

    “He was with me every step of the way,” said Tanya, describing Ramoneur as her “best friend and one true love”.

    “In Europe, even though I was miles from friends and family, he was always there. Anyone who knew him loved him; he was the most kind, loving and generous horse.

    “We started our international career together and did so for 10 years, qualifying and competing at the World Equestrian Games [WEG] in Caen, then became the first ever South African [dressage] Olympians in Rio.

    “He went on to qualify for WEG in Tryon, and then also became the first South Africans to compete at the World Cup finals in Gothenburg. Then to top it off he qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at a ripe age of 19 years. He felt and looked amazing and loved competing more than anything.”

    Tanya and Ramoneur’s last competitive outing was at Grote-Brogel, Belgium, in May, where they posted their highest score in 18 months. 

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