Olympic event horse remembered with new trophy: ‘Shining a light on his fantastic career’

  • Olympic event horse and European medallist Rock Model will be remembered in a new trophy awarded at the Eventing Spring Carnival at Thoresby Park Horse Trials (31 March-3 April).

    Sarah Bullen is marking the career of her home-bred by providing the trophy, which will be given to the winner of the Investec-sponsored CCI3*-S section on Saturday of the event.

    Sarah bred “Bug”  by her stallion Rock King, out of a mare she bought at Ascot Sales called Little Model. She sold the 15.3hh horse to British-based Italian rider Vittoria Panizzon as a six-year-old and continued to follow his career closely over the years.

    Among his achievements he was very successful at Belton – the forerunner of the new fixture at Thoresby, with both events organised by BEDE Events. The pair won the under-25 advanced there in 2005, and the advanced in 2007, and finished third in the Grantham Cup CCI4*-S in 2013. Bug was also second in an open intermediate at Oasby, another BEDE Events fixture, on his final eventing run in the autumn of 2013.

    Rock Model Trophy

    The Rock Model Trophy

    Bug died of a heart attack in 2014 while out hacking at the age of 19.

    Sarah said: “It is wonderful to mark his career even so many years after his passing and thanks to this new trophy he will continue to shine a light on the fantastic career he and Vittoria had together.”

    Vittoria added: “He took me round the world, competing in Hong Kong, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Italy, France and Great Britain. He was 16th and double clear at my first Olympics at Beijing in 2008, eighth and [took team] bronze at the Europeans and should have won gold – my fault, [we collected] silver – at the young rider Europeans.”

    Hear more about Rock Model when Vittoria Panizzon features on the Horse & Hound Podcast next week (episode 94). 

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