‘He was amazing’: British dressage rider pays tribute to horse who took her to the top

  • Grand prix dressage rider Sarah Millis has paid tribute to the horse who took her to the top of the sport.

    Korenbloem O’Neill was put down aged 20 due to a severe bout of colic on Saturday (10 September).

    Sarah bought the horse as a youngster through Craig Rawlins and Kebie Van der Heyden when she was just 17.

    “He was three years old and still entire — a little bit of a wild one to say the least!” she told H&H.

    The pair moved up the levels together and became a frequent sight on the European grand prix circuit.

    “With regard to actually learning everything for the sport, for grand prix, he learnt so quickly,” said Sarah.

    “He was very, very intelligent — always wanting to work and do his job.

    He used to get very bad stage fright and was petrified of everything.

    “Developing that trust — him developing that trust in me and me in him — it was a real rollercoaster.

    “Many people said to me ‘he is so naughty, you should give up’ but it was purely though fear, he was scared of the big, wide world, not [naughty] through not wanting to work.”

    The West Sussex-based rider remembered some of the highlights she enjoyed with the “amazing character”.

    “One of the biggest things competition-wise with him was competing at Hagen [CDI3* in 2009] with him. It was the first time I had competed there as a senior rider,” she said. “I was extremely nervous and he was amazing.

    “With regard to him as a horse, he always wanted to be centre of attention. I would walk in the yard and he would be like ‘come on, come on! It’s my turn!’”

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    The son of Jazz remained in work following his retirement from competition and Sarah taught some of her pupils on him, including Melissa Beer and Josh Hill.

    “He was a very fun and loving character,” said Sarah. “He was never a horse who liked being turned out for very long. He wanted to be ridden, he would get bored out in the field.”

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