I have to admit to have had one of my most emotional days yesterday – watching Rutherglen compete in his new ‘schoolmaster role’, I was overwhelmed to see how much he enjoyed himself and how considerate and supportive he was towards his “new pilot”.
Rutherglen and I have had the most wonderful partnership – I bought him as a 4 year old in Germany and we have had a very special time together, with the biggest highlight surely being the 2012 London Olympic Games. Rutherglen, at just 9 years of age, was one of the youngest horses at the Games and the youngest horse in the Australian Team – for him to finish with the best result of any Australian combination in all three Olympic disciplines Dressage, Jumping and Eventing was a fabulous result.
We have been lucky to travel the world together and compete several times in 4 of 6 of the Eventing world´s ‘Grand Slams’, our 4* competitions in Kentucky (USA), Luhmühlen (GER), Badminton (GBR) and Burghley (GBR) as well as some of the most beautiful venues of our sport. He has certainly got a full account of ‘Miles & More’!
He has not only been a sporting partner, he has been – and will always be – a friend. He was the first horse for our little daughter Philippa to sit on – because I trust him, impeccably, always.
When I made the decision that at 15 years of age the time has come for him to take life a little slower - after so many years at the top level – I gave it a lot of thought.
Selling him has never been an option – he is a member of the family.
Retiring him to the field – he would just be bored.
He has always been the ‘King of the castle’ – and he still wants to be. So, what next?
At the same time Isabel Finemore, one of my students, and her parents were looking for a horse to take her from ponies to the next level, onto horses. It seemed like a good idea in ‘theory’ – but how would our little ‘Formula 1 machine’ take to being a schoolmaster?
The answer is – like a fish to water! Isabel and Rutherglen have been getting on ‘like a match made in heaven’ and I have been delighted to see in our daily work how much he is supporting her but at the same time requiring very correct riding and instructions.
Isabel is one of the most talented young girls I have worked with – but also one of the most polite, most determined and most kind – so I am delighted to know Rutherglen in ‘safe hands’ with her and her family.
I will continue to support their journey, alongside her home coach Barbara Selmayr, and I am looking forward to a very exciting time ahead.
Whenever Rutherglen will send us his signals that it is time to retire he will return home to us – me, my wife Stefanie and our daughter Philippa - his family.
Take good care, my friend. You will always be in my heart – and I look forward to our new journeys ahead, wherever they may take us!