McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z are known to be ferocious competitors, but anyone in the Capital One arena tonight could see that they were hellbent for leather in the $50,000 Speed Class, and now we know why: McLain intended for it to be the iconic gelding’s final performance before entering a well-deserved retirement from competition.
Alan Wade designed a magnificent course to test the true bravery and grit of every combination in the ring, and HH Carlos didn’t blink at a fraction of it, just as he has for much of his career.
Watch McLain Ward and his personal "ATM" HH Carlos Z win the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final at #WIHS! #SpeedDemons #FEIWorldCup
Posted by Horse Network on Friday, October 27, 2017
Devin Ryan set an early tough pace right out of the gate, and numerous pairs failed in either speed or perfection to get anywhere near the time set by him and the lightning flash of a horse, Eddie Blue.
But halfway through the order, McLain and Carlos — a 15-year-old Zangersheide owned by Double H Farm — laid down the round of a lifetime to top Devin and Eddie by nearly a full second.
The audience gasped audibly when, during their award ceremony, WIHS announced that this was the final competitive performance by HH Carlos Z, and that he would be retired at the night’s event.
The crowd quickly rose to their feet in an impromptu standing ovation for a tremendous career that includes more than forty FEI wins on two continents and more than a dozen Nations Cup teams. In 2014, he and McLain finished ninth in the FEI World Cup Final in Lyon, France in one of McLain’s best finishes.
Thank you for a lifetime of memories, Carlos, and best wishes for a magnificent retirement to him and all his connections!