Olympic hero Tripple X III retired from competition in front of an adoring home crowd in Hickstead’s international arena yesterday (28 July).
The 17-year-old stallion, bred by his London 2012 gold medal-winning rider Ben Maher, looked fit and well as he walked into the ring with Ben in the saddle.
His current rider, Canada’s Tiffany Foster, walked in alongside the pair with the horse’s British and Canadian grooms, Daley Fisher and Caroline Holmberg, as music from Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator soundtrack filled the arena.
The ceremony took place during the coursewalk for the King George V Gold Cup, which the horse won in 2013.
The son of Namelus R looked every inch the champion he is as a highlights reel of his achievements was broadcast on the big screen, pricking his ears as he heard the cheers from crowds witnessing his previous triumphs.
During his 11-year career, Tripple X III helped the British team to European bronze date and won numerous major international grands prix across the world, including Olympia in 2013.
Tiffany took over the reins in 2015 and the horse continued his phenomenal form, including winning team gold at Canada’s home Pan-American Games in 2015 and representing the nation at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I just love him so much,” said a tearful Tiffany. “It means a lot to me to be able to come here with Ben and for all his British fans to be here, I’m so happy Hickstead has allowed us to do this.”
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The German rider was the clear winner, while an elimination under the blood rule meant a change to second and
Tiffany reflected on what it has been like to compete the horse.
“I think Ben did all the hard work with him and I just got to sail through,” she laughed. “He has never let me down.”
She added it is “really important” to them that the horse retired sound and happy and he will continue to enjoy being ridden and relaxing in his field every day.
Ben then hopped off and unsaddled. A commemorative rug was put on the horse and he paraded around the iconic international arena for a final time to the sound of applause from his fans and Queen’s We Are The Champions playing through the loud speakers.
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