by Fran Jurga | 28 September 2009 | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
Gigolo was simply the world's most successful sport horse...ever. (Isabell Werth photo)
He dominated dressage competitions for years, and helped elevate the sport to where it is today.
The naughtily-named Gigolo has been put to sleep in Germany.
I learned the news today when his 20-year partner, Germany's Isabell Werth, wrote "To me he was a friend, a teacher and a sport partner. His reliability and his commitment were most outstanding. 26 is a blessed age and I am glad that he could spend the autumn of his life here at our place were he had a good time with his friend Fabienne on the pasture. Beyond the sport Gigolo had shaped my life and I remember our years with gratefulness."
Consider this Hanoverian gelding's record: Four Olympic gold medals, two Olympic silver medals, four world championships at WEG, eight European championships and four German championships.
Quite contrary to his name, Gigolo competed only with Werth and the two were almost unbeatable. They competed head-to-head with Anky Van Grunsven and her Bonfire for years in one of horse sport's greatest rivalries that continues today, although the riders are on new horses.
Gigolo went on a farewell tour after the Sydney Olympics and has been turned out at Werth's farm for almost ten years.
Werth contends that Gigolo was the most successful sport horse in competition history. Who could argue?
And who could forget?