Avery Klunick’s four-star partner In It To Win It died while undergoing colic surgery on June 30. He was 16.
“Winston” started his eventing career with Julia Briskin, who competed him to the one-star level, winning the Morven Park CCI* (Va.) in 2007.
Klunick began her partnership with the New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred gelding by Chinese Gold in 2008, and they won their first training level event together in 2009 at Meadowcreek Park (Texas).
They were fifth individually at the 2011 Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships CCI* (Ky.) and came back the following year to place sixth in the CCI**.
In 2013, Klunick and Winston moved up to advanced, and in 2014 they tackled their first CCI*** at the Volvo Bromont Three-Day Event (Quebec), where they finished 21st. Last year they finished sixth at the Rebecca Farm CCI*** (Mont.).
This spring Klunick, of Midland, Texas, based herself with Boyd Martin in Aiken, S.C., and Cochranville, Pa., to work towards her dream of competing at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
She and Winston completed with a clear cross-country round, finishing 35th.
Klunick wrote on her Facebook page that Winston underwent colic surgery, but once veterinarians looked inside, they realized he would never be able to have a high quality of life, so she made the decision to let him go.
“To the people who were lucky enough to know him and to be friends with him, you know we lost a great horse,” she said. “He was my best friend and sidekick for the last nine years. Not only did I enjoy drinking a beer with him, but I also feel so lucky to be a part of his becoming a four-star horse this year at Rolex.
“He truly had the kindest soul of any human or horse I’ve ever known. He helped me grow up and become the person I am today. He also helped me get into college because I wrote my ‘most influential person’ essay about him.
“He was always there when I needed to talk—whether we hacked around, or I sat in his hay, and he ate around me. I feel so humbled to have gotten to know someone like him and to have so many great memories with him. He had so much love to share, and anytime I was around him I was laughing, as was everyone else. Winnie was stoic and proud until the end, showing me just one more time what a truly special soul he had.
“I thank him for pushing me and for opening more doors for me than any human ever will. I love him so much, and I can’t wait until I see him again. Cheers to you boy and thank you for making me me.”