Car Hester's 2004 Olympic team horse Escapado has passed away at age 26 on 5 June 2019.
The 1993 born Oldenburg gelding Escapado was by Ex Libris x Ikarus x Sternjaeger xx.
He was bred by Hartwig Müller in Germany and sold as a foal at the Vechta Elite Foal Auction. He was reared at Clemens von Merveldt's Gut Füchtel in Vechta and sold to Great Britain in 1999.
Owned by Carl's long-time sponsor Roly Luard, Escapado became instrumental in the launch of Carl Hester's show career. The horse enabled him to become a top 10 rider. The duo placed 13th at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, they were the 2004 British Grand Prix Champions, were 10th at the 2005 World Cup Finals in las Vegas, and finished fifth individually at the 2005 European Championships in Hagen, Germany.
After the 2005 Euros Dutch enterpreneur Ton Kies immediately made an offer on the horse and Escapado sold to The Netherlands to be Hans Peter Minderhoud's mount. At the time Minderhoud specialized in training and competing young horses. Escapado became his first international Grand Prix horse.
Minderhoud competed the bay gelding only a few times at international level as the horse struggled with injuries. In 2007 Minderhoud and Escpado booked their first big successes when they won the Grand Prix at Outdoor Gelderland and finished third in the Grand Prix Special at the CDIO Aachen. They returned to the ring in the autumn of 2008 and showed through 2009 at CDI's in Flyinge, Odense, Maastricht, Stockholm, Zwolle, Wellington, Aachen, Lyon and Stuttgart. Minderhoud's last show on Escapado was in November 2009 at the CDI Stuttgart.
In April 2011 Escapado was officially retired from competition and moved back to England to enjoy his retirement in the field at Carl's former groom Caroline Dawon's place. Hester picked up the horse in Holland on his return from the 2011 CDI Hagen.
"He took me from last place in Aachen in 2003 to the highest placed Brit at Athens Olympics 2004, then finishing third in the special at the 2005 European championships," said Hester. "Peanuts then took Hans Peter Minderhoud to the start of his international career before we took him back to retire at 18 years old. I want to thank his faithful groom and my friend Caroline for giving him a gorgeous retirement Peanuts lived out his days with two Shetland ponies who he adored."
Photos © Astrid Appels
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