‘Truly one in a million’: Olympic eventer dies aged 34 after ‘idyllic’ retirement

  • The owner and rider of Olympic eventer Welton Envoy have paid tribute to a “truly one in a million horse” after his death aged 34.

    “Eddie”, who won the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2000, and was selected to represent New Zealand at that year’s Olympics, with Blyth Tait, died peacefully at his home for many years, and that of his breeders, the Barrs’ Welton Stud.

    The Welton Crackerjack gelding, who was out of Minerva, full sister to Ginny Elliot’s top-level ride Night Cap, started his eventing career with Leslie Law and finished with Blyth, amassing more than 600 points.

    Linda Barr said: “Although a truly successful and consistent event horse, he also had the kindest and most genuine nature, and in his latter ridden years he looked after Sam Barr on many hacks.

    “Since the passing of Sam, he retired at the starting ground of many successful eventers and was dearly looked after by Sam’s wife, Linda.

    “He had the most idyllic life any horse could ever wish for and will leave a massive hole in the lives he touched. He was truly one in a million.”

    Blyth told H&H the Kentucky win was his biggest achievement with Eddie.

    “He was meant to be my team horse for Sydney, and Ready Teddy my individual horse, but he had a bit of a mishap travelling, and needed time off when we got there,” Blyth said.

    “We took him out of the team competition and ran him in the individual, as that ran second, but the first day of the competition was the first day he’d had a saddle on since we’d got there so unfortunately, he was a bit fresh and didn’t really have his chance.”

    Blyth enjoyed good placings at CCI3* level (now CCI4*), and “won some significant CICs”.

    “He was pretty good in all three phases; he may not have been the fastest galloper but he was efficient so we didn’t waste much time,” he said.

    Blyth and Eddie finished one second over the time on the Kentucky cross-country, jumping clear to secure the win on the last day.

    “He was a real sweetheart,” Blyth said. “He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was really solid in temperament and focused; he was a bit strong cross-country and not the easiest to balance and steady up, but if the track, like at Kentucky, was bold and flowing, he was much nicer to ride.

    “He was a flash mover for a event horse, with a massive trot, and he could score nines for his walk.”

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    Eddie also competed in British Dressage competitions with Pammy Hutton, winning at up to advanced medium level.

    “Pammy was a big help with him on the flat, and did a lot of work with him,” Blyth said.

    “Then, when he went back to Sam and Linda’s for his fitness work, Sam would ride him on the roads; he was really trustworthy and sensible.

    “He was always kind and interested and a very nice horse to have on the yard; you don’t win CCI5*s every day. I’ve got very fond memories of him; he was a nice chap.”

    • Do you have any special memories of Welton Envoy you’d like to share with fellow readers? You can do so by writing to hhletters@futurenet.com, including your name and nearest town, for the chance to feature on the letters page in a future issue of H&H magazine

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