• FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking Number 1: Isabell Werth (GER) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

    FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking Number 1: Isabell Werth (GER) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

  • Longines Rankings Show Jumping Number 1: Harrie Smolders (NED) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

    Longines Rankings Show Jumping Number 1: Harrie Smolders (NED) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

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Balmoral Sensation injured

There will be no World Equestrian Games for New Zealand’s Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation. News of the horse’s injury will be a blow to the New Zealand eventing team, as the pair would have been potential individual medallists as well as strong contributors to the team score. Recently, the they finished individual fifth at the CICO3* in Aachen, helping the New Zealand team to the victory, but Johnstone then reported Balmoral Sensation had picked up an injury; “It is a huge, huge blow for me and also to my family, support team and friends, who are such an important part of our journey. I am feeling very sad at the moment for my beautiful horse, but he will make a full recovery and we wish the New Zealand team all the best for bringing home some more gold.” After a strong start on home soil in New Zealand, Balmoral Sensation and Johnstone first came to international attention when they finished fifth at Badminton in 2016, which landed them a spot on the 2016 Rio Olympic team where they were the best New Zealand pair in individual sixth place. Last year they also won the CCI4* Adelaide.

In memory: Olympic legend Hans Günter Winkler

German Olympic jumping legend Hans Günter Winkler passed away at the age of 91 after a long illness. Born in 1926, Winkler remains the only equestrian in any discipline to compete and win medals at six Olympic Games. Over his impressive career, he collected five Olympic gold medals, a silver and a bronze, together with back-to-back World Championship titles in 1954 and 1955; and best known was his partnership with the great mare, Halla. In July 1986 Winkler rode his last lap of honour at his favourite venue in Aachen, just before his 60th birthday; and in the iconic Aachen Soers arena he also made his last public appearance in 2016 during his 90th birthday celebrations. For his support to youth development in the sport he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. “Hans Günter Winkler has been a great sportsman during his career, and likewise, after he had retired from his active time, he did a tremendous lot for our sport, in particular for the juniors,” said German Equestrian Federation President, Breido Graf zu Rantzau; “We are losing a man who has mastered his life with great discipline and passion. My memories of Hans Günter Winkler are inextricably associated with the Olympic victories of himself and his team mates Fritz Thiedemann, Alfons Lütke-Westhues and Alwin Schockemöhle and how through these victories in the post-war era, they have led equestrian sport back to the top of the world.” FEI President Ingmar De Vos added; “He was the most gifted horseman of his day and a great ambassador for our sport. His loss will be deeply felt, not just in Germany but throughout the equestrian community and beyond. The word legend is so often overused, but it is the most fitting description of a man and an athlete who really was a true legend.”

Grand Manoeuvre passed away

Former 4* event horse Grand Manoeuvre has been euthanized, less than three months after he was retired. The 14 year old gelding, owned by Diana and David Chappell, completed Badminton three times and also competed at the Blair European championships, where he gave Laura Collett her first senior championship completion. Collett said; “It was such a hard decision to make but ultimately it was quite black and white. He picked up an injury in his hoof, which is why he was retired in April. He had always had odd feet, but we were always able to manage them. We hoped he would have a year off and then come back to do some low-level dressage as he needed to remain active to keep his brain happy. He had been turned out during the day, but his soundness did not improve. When the ground became hard due to the weather, we decided to put him on box rest for a month to six weeks as he had become increasingly sore. Unfortunately even on box rest he became more and more lame, so it became clear that the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep.” Originally produced by Nick Gauntlett, Grand Manoeuvre first competed at the age of five in 2009. Gauntlett rode Grand Manoeuvre at his first 4* at Badminton in 2014, before Laura Collett took over the reins. Under Collett, the pair was also long listed for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Their final run was the 2017 Event Rider Masters at Blenheim, where they finished seventh. “He made Badminton feel like a BE100, and the weather conditions were so terribly wet at Blair and he battled for me; he had a heart of gold and I have never known a horse try so hard. He always had a smile on his face, people who came on to the yard were always drawn to him. He was an absolute darling.”

In memory: Luc Musette

Belgian international course designer Luc Musette has passed away after losing the battle with chronic illness. He was 61 years old. Musette was one of the most well known international A- level course designers, and together with his brother Jean-Paul Musette he also managed two riding schools in his native Belgium. Musette learned his trade from many master international course builders, and was able to transform his biggest passion into his profession, building at among others the CSI5* Stephex Masters, the Longines Masters series and the Longines Global Champions Tour. His last courses he designed at the Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, in early May 2018.

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