Nicola Philippaerts had the good fortune to draw the very last starting place in the $380,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI***** with H&M Harley VD Bisschop, which meant he also got to start last in the jump-off for the class. He’d watched Jessica Springsteen blaze around the short course with Cynar VA in 41.29 seconds, and so his plan wasn’t complicated, but it also wasn’t easy. He needed to go clear, and he needed to go fast.
Earlier this year, rumors circulated that Brunello—three-time winner of the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship—was retired, or at least retiring. There was a ceremony to unveil a Breyer model horse in his honor at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in June, and the next weekend his rider Liza Boyd entered another competition and heard a surprising announcement over the loudspeaker.
Nouvelle doesn’t do things halfway. It means she gallops into the ring for a jump-off ready to win, like she did in the $130,000 Suncast Welcome Classic at the Tryon International Equestrian Center CSI*****. But there’s a flip side to that same coin, which her rider Laura Kraut knows well after five years with the mare.
During the Fontainebleau CEI* 90-kilometer race, held Oct. 15 in France, two horses sustained injuries that necessitated euthanasia. The first, Ariane d’Oudairies, was competing with France’s Andre Coriou. This was the 6-year-old mare’s (Sleeping Car—Java d’Ourdairies, Cyborg) first Fédération Equestre Internationale start.
He’s won gold medals galore. He holds the world record score for the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix freestyle. He’s probably the most famous dressage horse who’s ever lived, and he moves his fans to tears and standing ovations.
It’s safe to say that no one who was seated at the Wollman Rink for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show CDI*** Grand Prix freestyle will soon forget this night. There was a historic win by Ireland’s Judy Reynolds on Vancouver, and then there was Olympic gold medalist Valegro. He wasn’t competing here, but his dressage freestyle demonstration with Charlotte Dujardin brought the sold-out crowd to first absolute silence, and then to tears.