Renowned sire and international show jumper Rio Grande died May 21 after suffering heart failure at W. Charlot Farms in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He was 21.
Widely regarded as Canada’s most influential sire, Rio Grande’s progeny have gone on to illustrious careers as top hunters and show jumpers. The Hanoverian’s many well-known offspring include Rio Renoir, Eye Remember Rio, Rio Bravo, Rio Bronco, Due North, Rave, Catwalk and Rio’s Rhapsody.
Born in Germany, Rio Grande (Raphael—Windhuk) got his start by winning his stallion performance test in 1991 before beginning his career as an international show jumper.
In 1995, Rio Grande, ridden by Eric Lamaze, was a member of Canada’s winning Nations Cup team at the National Horse Show (N.Y.) and the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. The pair went on to compete at the 1996 FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final in Geneva and qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Following his retirement from competition in 2001, Rio Grande quickly cemented his reputation as a prolific sire of show jumping, hunter, dressage and eventing sport horses. For three consecutive years, in 2004, ’05 and ’06, W. Charlot Farms was named the U.S. Equestrian Federation Hunter Breeder of the Year, due largely to the success of Rio Grande’s offspring.
“Rio Grande has played such an influential role in our breeding program and, more importantly, he has been a member of our family for the last 18 years,” said owner Augustin Walch. “We owe him so much, and he will always have a special place in our hearts.”