Sad farewell to eventing superstar who beat life-threatening illness to be ‘given wings again’

  • Upsilon, the superstar stallion described by his rider as “our waking dream” has been put down aged 15.

    Tom Carlile, who co-owned the Canturo grey and evented him to international success including two Barbury wins, said “every horseman’s dream is to one day cross the path of such a horse”.

    Upsilon won nine times internationally and was in the top five, five more times, including coming second in the seven-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers.

    In 2019, he became critically ill, “fighting like a lion against an undetectable evil”.

    Upsilon spent nearly a year in and out of veterinary hospitals, until a human doctor suggested what might ail him and proposed a treatment that saved his life. Tom explained that, it was later determined, the stallion had contracted a bacterial infection, which had settled in his nervous system and caused neurological damage. A long course of strong antibiotics cleared his symptoms.

    By November 2020, Upsilon was back in work, happy and comfortable. Tom told H&H at the time it was everything to see his horse happy; whether or not he evented again was not important.

    But this week, Tom said that “the injustice of life has returned to strike you without warning”.

    “Remember when I first met you…you blew me away with your charisma and presence,” he said. “No one could remain indifferent in front of you. [Upsilon’s co-owners] Dad, Mom, Gérard and Philippe quickly joined your adventure. And what an adventure!

    “You left us with amazing memories. You will have marked so many minds with your brilliance and talent.”

    Upsilon’s legacy is in his offspring; his progeny include Espri Du Figuier AA, who showjumps at 1.40m level with Olivier Robert. There are also Etoile De Béliard, who has won three times at two-star and Golden De Béliard, who landed last year’s six-year-old eventing World Championships. Both are ridden by Tom.

    Tom said Upsilon had “showed us the fighter you were”, and that his girlfriend Camille was his “confidante and angel”.

    “She knew how to give you wings again. You could have enjoyed those sweet years of peace that were owed so much,” he said. “How we miss you Upsilon, rest in peace my friend.

    “The devotion of the entire Clinique Equine de Meslay team around you has been remarkable and we extend our gratitude to them. Thank you.”

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