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News from Vicki

6 March 2010

Sad to record the passing of another of my equine best friends, two in 12 months is not much fun.  Small comfort that Errol was 18, and retired to being resident stallion for some years now, but he still looked about 10, and was only prematurely retired because having two stallions on the truck was a bit of a pain in the neck.  Copabella Visage got the vote to stay on the truck as he was the paying customer, but both stallions had the same huge, wonderful personalities with amazing techniques and carefulness..

I first spotted Errol (aka his grander name of Premier des Hayettes) in France in 1999 when I took Liasons over there to market, and Coalminer for Mikee Cojuangco to try and qualify for the 2000 Olympics.  Prior to her arrival, Mikee's knee, which had had several operations, was not too good, so she was unable to compete, but Liasons, originally bought from Gill Rolton and Denis Goulding was going gangbusters, and won a Grand Prix at Le Touquet CSI that had 127 starters!  I saw Errol competing with Eugenie Angot at another show, and fell in love with him from Day 1, and nearly died when they had a monumental tip up at an open water jump, when the green but brave Errol picked off early!  Eventually I was able to negotiate his purchase in a deal with the sale of Liasons.  As Denis was still involved with Liasons, I offered him a share in Errol, which after inspecting him readily took up, as he was the most perfect model of a horse.  He was not the largest, being about 15.3 hh on his tippy toes, but Eugenie told me he was a twin, and later I found out from his breeder that Errol had been the smaller twin, but obviously the pluckier one as the other twin didn't survive.  His breeding was impressive, being by Concorde out of a Nimmerdoor mare, a classic Dutch cross, and Francois Mathy often told me that his dam Calbonny was from one of the best maternal jumping lines in Europe.  This was later enhanced by his younger half brother and sister, also out of Calbonny,  Mozart des Hayettes and Quidame des Hayettes, who both had major 5* show wins with Michael Whitaker, Mozart being the first alternate for the British team at the 2006 World Games.  I saw him a couple of times, and couldn't believe how much he looked like Errol, just with longer legs!

As a competition partner Errol gave me such a lot of joy, being Champion jumper at both Sydney and Melbourne Royals, and winning two World Cups for me, Tonimbuk, in a high class field, and the memorable one at Tempo at SIEC, where we just edged out Chuggy and Diamond B Ego over a typically tough Leopoldo Palacious track.  He was very good at running and jumping, being so super careful! In mid January this year he damaged ligaments in one of his hind fetlocks that necessitated box rest and a plaster cast.  Both vets Brett Jones and Derek Majors were amazed at what a lovely, easy stallion he was to work with, despite his painful injury.  And even though he was quite bored, he was a model patient in his box, taking great delight in adopting his cutest pose, arching his neck and pricking his super cute ears when the carrots were on offer.  They were the reward for the horse that had just been ridden, but Errol always managed to get his share of them...

A colic attack put an end to his life earlier this week, and Errol is now buried in the stallion paddock that he spent sometime in during his competition days.  His children will see his memory live on, as they are now really showing their stuff as they come of age.  Rest in peace my little mate, you will be sadly missed here.

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