One of Britain’s leading showjumpers, Sultan V, will now be ridden under the Saudi Equestrian banner.
The Old Lodge’s home-bred 10-year-old grey gelding had a fantastic career with West Sussex rider Bruce Menzies. The pair won the Horse & Hound Foxhunter final and the grade C championship in 2009 and competed in Nations Cups teams in 2011. They had been on many people’s shortlists as serious contenders for London 2012.
However, news came shortly before Christmas – and the Olympic deadline for re-registering horses of 31 December – that the son of Irco Mena would be moving to Wisbeq, Belgium, where the Saudi team are based, in January.
“I’m absolutely gutted – it’s a massive blow,” Bruce told H&H.
“I’ve spent five years producing the horse and have nothing else of his standard for the Olympics. I was very fond of him.”
The Saudi Arabian showjumping team have just earned the final qualifying place at the Olympics after winning gold at the Pan-Arab games in December.
Sultan is the second top British horse to go to Saudi Arabia, Robert Smith’s Talan changed hands last week.
For more reaction to the sale of these top horses see next week’s issue of H&H (12 January)