‘The most wonderful memories’: Olympic eventer pays tribute to five-star ‘pocket rocket’

  • Australian Olympic medallist Andrew Hoy has paid tribute to the “most amazing little horse” Algebra, who died on his 24th birthday.

    Julia McLean and John Glenn’s 15.3hh gelding died at their farm in Australia on Tuesday (15 November).

    “Sam” was produced from grassroots to four-star level (now five-star) level by Andrew’s pupil Natalie Blundell. The pair were based in Australia and completed the Adelaide CCI4* (now CCI5*) four times, including 2012 when they were runners-up. Natalie relocated to Andrew’s UK base and in 2014 she and Algebra were 13th at Luhmühlen.

    Algebra had been due to start a second career as a schoolmaster, but John and Julia decided to give him a final year at the top of the sport, and Andrew took over the ride at the end of 2014. The pair won their first international event together, the Montelibretti CCI3*-L (now CCI4*) in April 2015. Two months later they won the Haras du Pin CCI3*-L (now CCI4*). The following year they were fourth at Haras Du Pin, third in the Ballindenisk CCI3* (now CCI4*) and in 2017 they were third at Montelibretti.

    Andrew said 15 November marked a “memorable date” as it was “Mr Pocket Rocket’s” birthday and the date Algebra’s retirement party was held in 2017, when he was 20.

    “On his 25th birthday is where the journey ended and he passed away at John and Julia’s beautiful farm, where he had been bossing around the young horses right until the end,” he said.

    “He certainly was the most special character and I have so much to thank him for. We had an amazing time together and some pretty remarkable results. I was so lucky to take over the reins from my most wonderful student Natalie Blundell. 2015 was ‘our year’, winning at Montelibretti and Haras du Pin.”

    Andrew added that on 15 November, he and his wife Stefanie had arranged to catch up with John and Julia, who also own Byebye Brisquenouille, an 11-year-old mare competing at two-star level with Andrew.

    “It was somehow fitting that we could be there to raise a glass with them and share memories of this most amazing little horse, who has touched all our hearts and given all of us the most wonderful experiences and memories,” he said.

    “Thank you Sam. You will always keep a very special place in my heart.”

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