Rising star Carl Hester once described as the “best-bred horse in the world” dies aged 11

  • The promising 11-year-old dressage horse U-Genius has been put down following a bout of colic on Sunday (5 June).

    U-Genius was the son of Carl Hester’s London 2021 ride Uthopia (Metall x Inspekteur), and his dam is Weidyfleur II – the full sister to Valegro (Negro x Gershwin). As an eight-year-old, the stallion was dubbed “the best-bred horse in the world” by Carl Hester, who owned him alongside his breeder Claire Hester, plus Roly Luard and Anne Crohn.

    “After showing mild signs of discomfort and colic and not responding to initial veterinary treatment he was, as a precautionary measure, taken to equine hospital,” said Claire. “His condition declined and the tough decision was taken to operate. Very quickly the surgeons realised they couldn’t save him, and he was quietly put to sleep without any suffering.

    “It is an understatement to say we are all devastated.”

    U-Genius, known at home as Douglas, competed successfully at small tour level under Amy Woodhead, and looked set to succeed at grand prix in the future. Among his successes with Amy were wins at prix st georges and inter I at the 2020 Vale View High Profile show.

    “He was simply the most magnificent being with the kindest soul we will ever know,” said Claire. “He was generous with his cleverness and trainability, gentle with his power and personality, exuberant and expressive in his enjoyment of learning and understanding grand prix movements, while being understated, so easy to handle as a stallion and a genuine gentleman.

    “It feels so unfair for him and us, that after being so careful with his clear talent and preference for grand prix he will never get the chance to show everyone how truly magnificent he had become. After years of sympathetic training and preparation he was now ready to step onto the world stage, and for this to be taken away at the final hour feels so unjust.”

    U-Genius was also an Anglo European Studbook approved breeding stallion with 29 recorded offspring, and his connections are thankful that his “legacy with live on in his foals and grand-foals”.

    “I have to believe that his temperament and natural ability will live on and shine through future generations for many years to come,” said Claire.

    “Douglas, you were truly a once in a lifetime horse; you were so very much loved by us all and will be so greatly missed – fly free over the golden rainbow my friend.”

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