‘He was such a fighter; he’d never give up’: farewell tributes paid to five-star winner

  • William Fox-Pitt’s five-star winner Seacookie TSF has been put to sleep aged 25 after a stellar career – and almost 10 years of happy retirement.

    The Trakehner gelding, who won Pau and Blenheim, and came second at Burghley and Kentucky, retired at the end of the 2014 season, and enjoyed the rest of his days with owner Catherine Witt.

    “It’s so sad to see him go – but what memories he left us with,” Catherine told H&H.

    Cookie had been produced by German Olympic rider Ingrid Klimke and William had seen and admired him at Boekelo, when Catherine was looking to buy a horse for William to ride.

    “That’s how it started,” William told H&H.

    “He was a real athlete, who looked like he found eventing so easy, so light and extravagant. It was like riding an elastic band. He had his little quirks; he was quite spooky and had his own little opinions – but very nice ones; he didn’t have a nasty bone in his body. And he gave me some amazing rides at five-star level.”

    William and Cookie competed at Badminton in 2010 but did not complete because the horse tied up. But they came second at Burghley that year, won Blenheim in 2012 and came second at Kentucky in 2013, the year they also won Pau.

    “Second at Burghley was very sweet, but with a little edge as we came so close, and he was amazing,” said William. “He was such a fighter; he’d never give up. He maybe wasn’t the best galloper and didn’t have the best stamina, but he was up for everything.

    “And to have been so close so many times, to finally win Pau; it was a huge relief as he really deserved it.”

    William paid tribute to Ingrid’s production, adding: “I think I never quite got the best out of him on the flat; with her he must have been quite a few percent better but he still got pretty good marks with me, so goodness knows what he’d have done with her!

    “He was very special and I’m very lucky Catherine bought him for me. We had good fun, then he lived in luxury with her, Parklane Hawk and Bay My Hero, three five-star winners all out together.”

    Catherine explained that Cookie was her first horse with William, so he started the partnership Parklane Hawk and Bay My Hero later joined.

    “Cookie never gave me a day’s anxiety,” she said. “I’m one of the most nervous owners ever; I don’t really enjoy it till the Wednesday after the event! But I didn’t have a concern with him; I believed in William. He was a perfect horse

    “He knew his job, never got overexcited, he just did everything, and we were very lucky. Then he retired sound, and I had him for nearly 10 years more.”

    Catherine said Cookie was a very gentle horse to have around, with a cheeky side.

    “The others probably got all the blame for anything that happened because it couldn’t have been him!

    “He didn’t look like an event horse; he was too pretty, but he kept up with all the others, and when he came second at Burghley and Kentucky, we knew at some point he was going to have a win. William had three horses at Pau that year but it was Cookie who won, and it was brilliant.

    “He was beautiful. I feel very blessed to have had such good horses, and blessed to have had him so long.”

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