‘We will never forget you’: heartfelt tributes paid World Cup final winner

  • Connections have paid tribute to the “true friend and gentleman” Glock’s Flirt, who died recently aged 21.

    The multiple international grand prix-winning dressage horse scored his biggest victory in the 2016 World Cup final with his long-term Dutch rider, Hans Peter Minderhoud.

    “[He was] the dearest and most loyal horse I ever had the honour to ride. A true friend at home and a real fighter at tournaments,” said Hans Peter.

    “Flirty”, a son of Florestan I and Gauguin De Lully mare Envie De Lully, died in September “surrounded by his dearest two-legged friends”.

    A statement from Glock Horse Performance Center said that “now some of the pain has healed, we are ready to tell his story”.

    “He was one of the most beloved horses we ever had the privilege to provide a home. A trusty sporting partner, a four-legged friend, a gentleman until old age,” said a Glock spokesman. “Always well behaved, always gentle and always devoted to his people.”

    The gelding and Hans Peter took part in 14 World Cup legs, enjoying wins at three of these and reaching the finals on two occasions – that victorious year in Sweden in 2016 and the previous year in Las Vegas, where they finished fifth.

    They competed at London twice, finishing third in both the grand prix and the freestyle in 2015 and taking home two second-place rosettes in 2016.

    Flirty joined Glock after he won his first grand prix aged nine.

    “His breeder, Hans-Jakob Fünfschilling, told us that, as a three-year-old, he was incredibly striking with his charisma and talent for movement, but also difficult to handle,” said the spokesman.

    “When he was four years old, he came to Jasmine Sanche and, just one year later and despite his difficult-to-handle temperament, he had already passed all his tests.”

    The Swiss warmblood went to Hartwig Burfeind as a six-year-old, before joining Glock, and “matured under Hans Peter into a world-class horse”.

    Hans Peter and Flirty achieved their highest score as a partnership on their final start together in the World Cup leg at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2017, winning the kür on 84.89%.

    “He gave us a wonderful last performance at the age of 16, albeit without our knowing it at the time,” said the spokesman, adding that a tendon injury brought an end to Flirty’s competition career.

    “He was fit enough to enjoy his twilight years on the extensive pastures of the Glock Horse Performance Center Netherlands, which he did for more than five wonderful years.

    “But the day comes, we all know, when we have to say goodbye to our beloved four-legged friend. And now it was time to let Glock’s Flirt go.”

    In his last weeks, the gelding was finding it difficult to get up and to eat, and despite vet’s help, there was nothing more they could do for him.

    “On 22 September, Flirty slipped gently away, surrounded by his keepers and his human friend, Hans Peter. Farewell Flirty, we will never forget you.”

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