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‘He always had a smile on his face’: farewell to top British grand prix horse

The former top ride of British grand prix rider Henriette Andersen, Louis D’Or, has been put down aged 23. The son of Heslegaards Louis x Grandis, who stood just 16hh, had been suffering with laminitis.

Louis, owned by Paula Potter, was one of Britain’s successful and most popular grand prix horses during the 12-year career he and Henriette shared, from 2002 to 2014.

They scored numerous top-10 placings on the international grand prix circuit, with three appearances at Olympia, in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Among his many successes was victory in the grand prix freestyle at Saumur CDI3* in 2010, scoring over 74%.

“We brought him over from Denmark as a three-year-old and he didn’t really look like a dressage horse, being quite small and hairy,” Henriette told H&H. “Our friend Paula bought him but when he was about five he came to stay with us while Paula was away, and he never really went back!

“At first I didn’t see him as a grand prix horse at all, but as we went up the levels it turned out that every time we asked him a new question he would always be up for giving it a go. He would always come out of the stable with a smile on his face, and was never in a bad mood, would never had a bad day.”

“He was just an amazing little character; he was always very happy and that became his trademark – whenever he went into the arena those little ears of his were pricked as he said, ‘Bring it on’. He took a little while to learn to do flying changes, but actually they ended up being his party piece and he would very rarely make a mistake,” added Henriette, who is based in the Cotswolds with her husband, Danish grand prix rider Ulrik Molgaard.

Louis’ final major competition was the Barcelona CDI4* in 2014, where he and Henriette finished eighth in the grand prix and special. For Henriette, the highlights of Lous’ career were his performances at Olympia, and their first time competing at Hagen, Germany, in 2011.

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“Hagen was very special, particularly as I had never ridden there myself. All the big guns were there, and we rocked up with this little horse who was barely 16hh,” she laughed.

The gelding returned home to Paula in 2018 to spend his last years in full retirement.

“Louis was never a gold medal horse but he was Mr Consistent, who would always come out and do his job to the best of his ability. You can’t ask for more than that. If I could have cloned him, I would have.”

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