After an illustrious career with the team at Wyndmont Inc., the 19-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Valinski S (Nikinski x Rockina), will be retired from high-performance show jumping competition. Having secured top placings world-class events around the world with several leading athletes, including qualifying for the Individual Final during the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Valinski S will retire sound and healthy, having showcased his skills for over a decade.
Valinski S competing at the 2016 Olympic Games with Matt Williams. Photo by Cealy Tetley.
Wyndmont’s Ronnie Beard and Michael Dorman found Valinski S in 2012 when he was being produced by Olympian Peter Charles, just prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games. Beard immediately knew Valinski S was a special horse with all of the quality and ability to make it to the highest level of the sport. Following the 2012 Olympics, Beard, together with Mark Alter, was able to purchase the talented Dutch Warmblood from Charles, with a vision in mind for the gelding’s promising future.
Trainer Michael Dorman began competing with Valisnki at the FEI CSI2* level in 2014 during the Winter Equestrian Festival. During the 2015 winter season, Ben Maher took over the reins, placing fourth during the gelding’s CSI5* debut, where it became clear Valinski S was ready to take on the world stage. Candice King rode him through the following spring and summer before Australia’s Matt Williams began riding him in the fall while the Wyndmont team was in California. The pair had an instant connection that would eventually lead to the 2016 Olympic Games.
Valinski patiently waiting for the Individual Finals at the Olympic Games. Photo courtesy Wyndmont Inc.
“Early in 2016, Matt asked if he could use Valinski for the Ocala Nations Cup,” explained Beard. “I said ‘Sure, it’s going to be good for you and it’s a good experience for the horse.’ In Ocala, he was the only horse to jump clear for Australia, and actually one of the few to jump the course clear. Then, Matt started talking to me about the possibility of bringing Valinski to the Olympics. I had a meeting with Mark, his wife and Michael and we all decided that it would be a good call. Valinski continued to do well with Matt in the irons, and they invited us to go to Poland for the Nations Cups, where once again he was the only horse for Australia to jump clear, so that sealed the deal. Then, from Poland he went back to America and then he was off to Rio.”
During the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Valinski S earned a spot among 35 of the top horse-and-rider combinations in the world to compete in the Individual Final. In preparation for the Games, he captured the victory in the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS Ocala, a second place finish in the $130,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI3* and third place finishes in the $216,000 Grand Prix CSI4* at Tryon, the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO4* in Wellington and the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Las Vegas.
Following the 2016 Olympic Games, Valinski S continued to succeed in his jumping career with several other top riders including Todd Minikus, Shawn Casady, Steve Schaefer and Lauren Hough, including earning top three finishes in FEI events with all of them. This summer Canada’s Jonathan Millar had placings in grand prix competition as well.
“Valinski is such an uncomplicated creature,” smiled Beard.”It is all heart. He’s not very tall, not even 16 hands, but he rides and acts like a really big horse. His heart is never set down, he just always tries as hard as he can. Even now, if we ask him to jump a grand prix, he would. All the riders that have ever rode him said the same thing. He’s just really one of a kind.”
With an incredible resume, Beard and the team at Wyndmont believe that Valinski S has earned his retirement from show jumping. Beard commented, “He’s actually feeling perfect right now. He still looks like he’s 7 years old, in beautiful shape, but I made a decision last year that he wouldn’t do another Florida circuit because of his age. I didn’t want to have a horse that didn’t want to jump anymore. I really feel that he has done so much for us, and he deserves to have a happy retirement.”
After a memorable career around the globe, Valinski S will be aptly retired in Wellington, Florida. Beard and Dorman will be close by and plan to visit Valinski S regularly to ensure he enjoys a happy retirement. Valinski S will trade the competition arena for an expansive grass field and a well deserved rest close to those that love him most.
For more information about Ronnie Beard, Michael Dorman and the team at Wyndmont, click here.