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British eventer Oliver Townend is retiring his 2014 WEG and CCI4* horse Black Tie. The ‘small but mighty’ 18-year-old Thoroughbred finished fourth at the CCI4*Luhmühlen won Burnham Market CIC3* in 2014. Black Tie will enjoy his retirement with friends of owner Karyn Shuter. Shuter competed ‘Tonti’ herself up to novice level, and describes him as a “funny little character, cheeky but very genuine”, who apparently used to get rid of his jockeys; “He refuses to let any new work experience people put the headcollar on, but had a fantastic trainable brain and was just another reason why I love thoroughbreds.” About the decision to retire him, she added; “We never wanted to break him physically or his heart, as that is what made him, him; his belief in himself. We thought this year, he is 18, still trying to buck everyone off but let’s leave it at that, on a high, the way you would always choose to end if you can.” Oliver Townend announced the retirement with mixed emotions; “Tonti truly embodies being small but mighty, and his huge character has put a smile on all our faces from day one. We always agreed we wanted him to finish his competition career fit and healthy so he could enjoy a long and happy retirement, so it is lovely to end on a high with him winning his last event at Osborne last season. Tonti, thanks for all the wonderful times and happy retirement champ!”

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