As the debonair cowboy George Strait once said, “There’s a difference in living and living well.” Perhaps no one more fully embodies that notion more than the aging FEI Show Jumpers who fly and drive from one event to the next, getting pampered, massaged, heat plated, exercised and loved on along the way.
These older dames and gentlemen on the circuit seem blissfully unaware they’re entering their golden years, still looking as fit and fresh as they did when they first headed out on the recognized tour, snorting on the end of a lunge line like a dragon and puffing up at the sight of their adoring crowds.
In recognition of Equine Senior Week, we’re highlighting some of our favorite old birds still active on the hunt for tri-colored ribbons and big checks, courtesy of our friends at Draper Equine Therapies!
Copias, 19 years old
Owned and ridden by Justin Resnik
This stunning Holsteiner gelding has been turning heads at all stages of life, and his late teens are no different. Bred in Germany (Calido I x Fee XIII), Justin acquired Copias as a three-year-old and the pair have been inseparable for each of their professional careers. They’ve had dozens of top Grand Prix placings as far back as 2009 and as recently as this spring. That includes a runner-up at a CSI 4* in Italy in April!
Find out more about Copias and Justin at www.eurosporthorses.com
Cristallo, 19 years old
Owned and ridden by Richard Spooner
Oh, these superstars. Richard and Cristallo have been together for 15 years, and in that time have amassed tens of thousands of dollars in prize money, claimed the win in dozens of Grand Prix classes, and stolen the hearts of show jumping fans everywhere. And they’re far from done.
The Holsteiner gelding claimed yet another win in his illustrious career in May when he won the $60,000 Grand Prix of California at the Del Mar Show Park, and Richard couldn’t contain his awe.
“We’ve had a very long and extraordinary relationship, and it just amazes me that he is still fit and strong,” Spooner said of Cristallo. “He didn’t do any classes this week; he just came out for the grand prix and he nailed it. How could I possibly say enough about how I feel about that horse?”
Rothchild, 16 years old
Owned by Sagamore Farms and ridden by McLain Ward
While Rothchild is only just breaking into his AARP years, it’s still impressive what a fiery force he is against the young bucks trying to beat him to the finish flags. He and McLain won their first Grand Prix together back in 2010, and they’ve never looked back, including adding another GP blue to their collection just last night in the Sapphire CSI 4* at Devon. We think this round (which ends with Rothchild’s traditional celebratory buck) speaks for itself:
Daria 46, 19 years old
Owned by Dirk Wellmann and ridden by Michael Kolz
You may not know Daria 46 or her rider Michael Kolz of Germany, but the two have been painstakingly jumping their way around Europe at the FEI level for the past seven years. A late bloomer, Daria has spent her entire FEI career with Michael and they have been in the top ribbons since they first started at the upper levels in 2010.
The German Sport Horse mysteriously disappears from the FEI records from 2012-2016 before making a heroic comeback this year first with Michael’s wife, Ellen Kolz. The pair had two top 10 finishes at a CSI 3* in Poland before the ride went back to Michael, and he and the lovely mare took fourth at a 3* in Munich just last week. Proof that it’s never too late for a comeback!
Learn more about the several generations of Kolz horseman here (yay Google Translate!)
Onira, 21 years old
Owned by Remarkable Farms, ridden by Brianne Goutal
Not only did Brianne Goutal and Onira achieve some of their career milestones together more than a decade ago, they’re still achieving goals as Onira sails through his early twenties looking fit as a fiddle. In 2006, Brianne and Onira won the $50k Garden State Grand Prix, and the next year came in second in the $200,000 Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic.
Eight years later at 18 grand years old, Onira and Brianne were the selector’s choice to represent the United States at the 2014 Nations Cup in Falsterbo where a double-clear effort helped secure a bronze medal finish for Team USA.
The gelding is out and about slightly less this year, but still managed to win a 1.45m CSI 2* at Tryon the first week on May with a double clear and scorching jump-off. Onira and Brianne’s accomplishments over 12+ years is more than many riders might accomplish with a lifetime supply of Grand Prix horses, and he’s not done yet.
The moral of the story is: Top Care and impeccable horsemanship may not prevent the inevitable, but not one of these horses would be where they are if not for shrewd management by their grooms, riders, and owners. They are the exception, but with hard work and a little luck, you and your teenage steed just might get lucky for years to come, too!
Go Senior FEI Horses, and Go Jumping.
Want your senior feeling their best well into their late teens and twenties like these top FEI horses? Consider investing in a pair of Draper Equine Therapy Quick Wraps. Specially formulated out of 50% Celliant – a fiber loaded with thermo-reactive minerals which can improve blood flow to a targeted area – these wraps combat swelling, edema, soreness, and even certain arthritic conditions.
Draper Therapies is currently running a giveaway for these wraps, and all you need to do for your chance to win is comment on their contest post with a photo of your beloved senior equine! Contest ends June 5.