‘A magical being’: top sport pony stallion dies aged 33

  • Influential pony competition and breeding stallion Caesar 171, the foundation sire at the Brown family’s Godrics Stud, has died aged 33.

    The 13.3hh stallion, by Condor and out of an Askan mare, enjoyed a successful competition career in his own right, and leaves behind a flourishing legacy in the form of his many progeny.

    Many British team ponies in the last decade have been sired by Caesar 171 and in 2017, four of his offspring were long-listed for the British team for the pony Europeans.

    “He was a magical being,” said owner Beverley Brown. “He was so kind, and he was pomp and parade all day. When there were flags and music, he grew to 18 hands. He was incredible and he loved life. He was our king.”

    The pony was born in Germany in 1989, approved by the Pferdestammbuch Weser-Ems (studbook) as a two-year-old and completed his performance test in 1994.

    He was imported to the UK in 1999 as a 10-year-old, forming a solid partnership with rider Victoria Molloy. The pair won the medium restricted winter championship title in 2000 and were part of the British pony side that brought home the team silver medal at the Europeans that year.

    Natalie Allen also enjoyed success in the saddle with him on the national circuit.

    In 2006, Beverley bought the pony as a foundation sire for Godric’s Stud and a ride for her daughter, Samantha.

    “We were looking for a pony stallion to set up the stud, and Ian Woodhead said, “He’s only 13.3hh but come and see him,” said Beverley. “He did look small in the stable, but he takes up the leg and as soon as Sam sat on him, it was incredible. She beamed from ear to ear! His aids were whisper-sensitive and he was so finely tuned that you had to ask him correctly in order to get the right response. He taught Sam everything – a huge amount. She knew every fibre of his being. Their connection was astonishing.”

    The pair enjoyed a two-year campaign in FEI pony tests at Premier League shows and he retired from competition in 2008, aged 19, by which time his career at stud had taken off.

    His prolific dressage offspring include Cruz III, who is competing at inter I, plus LE Chiffre, Ell BS and George Clooney BS. He also has progeny competing in showing, eventing and showjumping.

    In January 2011, Caesar was awarded the prestigious British Breeders SPSS [Sports Pony Studbook Society] performance and breeding award in recognition of his own international successes, as well as his influence on British pony breeding. In 2015, he was awarded the SPSS dancer medal as a result of the many successes of his progeny in 2014.

    “When we retired him, he took to pipe and slippers very well. When he was competing, he didn’t particularly enjoy being in the field, but in retirement he thoroughly enjoyed it. Though he did look for a saddle every day! He loved to work,” added Beverley.

    “He was in tip top condition and he looked incredible right until the end. He was sound, fit and active and we even had to put him on a diet. But we knew on the Sunday that he didn’t look himself and we owed him the duty that he wouldn’t suffer.

    “It was the day of the Venus and Jupiter alignment, and as he passed away an amazing firework display could be seen over the valley. It was his time to gallop off.”

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