A Great Horse Whose Name You May Never Know

Spin the globe to Turin (Torino), in the Italian Alps, today for news from the European Dressage Championships and the musical freestyle.

Of course it is no surprise that the freestyle was won by Hollan’s Anky Van Gruvsnen and her Keltec Salinero, who tallied a score so high it needs oxygen: 85.8%.

I’ll be watching youtube.com for someone to post a video of the most emotional performance of the championships: the Russian combination of Alexandra Korelova and former-abused-circus-horse-turned-police-horse-turned-dressage-champion, Balagur. I have been following this horse’s career since he hit the global dressage scene in Athens in 2004.

The best piaffe of the entire championship combined with excellent passage and smooth transitions put the pair in sixth place with 78.2%. The crowd started a standing ovation before the test was actually over.

The FEI press reports usually don’t gush with emotion but they certainly did today on behalf of Balagur’s performance. Get out your horse breed i.d. book: Balagur is an Orlov Trotter and he is 19 years old! (Will dressage trainers start scouting missions to circuses now?)

I think this horse’s life story would rival that of Black Beauty, and I hope someone somewhere is at work writing that book!

One rider had a tragedy: she completed her test and gave her horse an enthusiastic pat on the neck. The horse bucked, dumped her, and leapt out of the area. I guess no one in the audience was injured, but the rider was disqualified, even though the test was complete.




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