An Olympic star still thriving aged 33, as other top horses’ careers come to a close

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  • In a week when so many have felt affected by the tragic news of Georgie Campbell’s passing at Bicton International Horse Trials, we bring you some uplifting stories from across the equine world.

    1. Retired Olympic star turns 33 years old

    Rascher Hopes, Emile Faurie’s team bronze-medal winning ride at the 2003 European Dressage Championships and the highest-scoring British horse at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, recently celebrated his 33rd birthday and is thriving in retirement. Rascher Hopes – or Streaky as he is known at home – has been based with Hilary Macdonald in Gloucestershire since his retirement in 2006. “He still goes out for the odd little potter once a week or so which he seems to really enjoy. He’s slowed down a lot now but he’s just been the most extraordinary horse, and he’s still a real character and the yard favourite,” Hilary told H&H.

    Read full story

    2. “The little lioness that could” retires

    Sameh El Dahan riding Suma’s Zorro in Paris, in 2018.

    Sameh El Dahan riding Suma’s Zorro in Paris, in 2018.

    Suma’s Zorro, the exceptional mare partnered by Britain’s Sameh El Dahan, has retired from showjumping “healthy, sound and fresh” aged 20. The little chestnut mare landed the sport’s richest prize in winning the 2018 $1million CP International presented by Rolex at Spruce Meadows. The pair also competed at the World Equestrian Games in 2014 and 2018, and in total, the mare jumped close to 400 classes in an international career that spanned more than 11 years. Sameh said: “I’m for ever grateful that I have met you. Today was your special day, a little tribute to how amazing you are, you are my living legend and I’m over the moon that you look the way you looked today at 20 years young.”

    Read what else Sameh had to say about his partner

    3. Four-star winner switches to a new sport

    Dargun, the former ride of Emily King, is to retire from eventing. Here Dargun is pictured with his current owner Elizabeth Barratt.

    Elizabeth and Dargun at Cornbury in September 2023.

    Dargun, the former top ride of Emily King, and later Piggy March, who most recently has been ridden by teenage eventer Elizabeth Barratt, is retiring from eventing. The 16-year-old gelding is switching sports to compete in dressage with junior rider Megan Fields. Before joining Elizabeth, Dargun won team gold at the young rider Europeans with Emily King in 2015, and they were Bramham u25 champions in 2018. After Emily’s owner Jane Del Missier moved away from the sport in 2019, Dargun joined Piggy March’s string. Piggy and Dargun were second at the Little Downham CCI4*-S in October 2020, and won the Burnham Market CCI4*-S in April 2021. The gelding’s best result with Elizabeth came in September 2023 when they won the Cornbury young rider CCI3*-S.

    “A tough decision, but the right one for him”

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