Anna Buffini's Sundayboy Passed Away

Mon, 02/08/2021 - 13:53
Anna Buffini and Sundayboy at the 2017 CDI Wellington :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Anna Buffini's successful Under 25 Grand Prix horse Sundayboy has passed away on 6 February 2021. He was 22 years old.

Sundayboy was by Kennedy out of Eezelma (by Zevenaar x Ormand x Enfant de Normandie). He was bred by E. van Halen in Hoogersmilde, the Netherlands.

Sold to the U.S.A. 

In 2009 Sundayboy was listed as owned by Joachim Arl, followed by M. de Veen-Van der Wel, after which he sold to Dick and Jane Brown, long-time sponsors of the California based Olympian Guenter Seidel, in December of that year.

After having recovering from a pelvic fracture sustained in June 2010, Seidel made his CDI debut on Sundayboy in Burbank in 2011. He went on to compete him also at the CDI's in Del Mar and Fritzens. 

In 2011 the aging Browns ended their involvement in dressage sport and Sundayboy was listed as sold to Dutch horse dealer Egbert Kraak in 2012.

Buffini's Career Starting Horse

In January 2013 Sundayboy sold to Seidel's young rider student Anna Buffini. The new pair made its CDI debut at the 2014 CDI Burbank.

Seidel and Sundayboy at the 2011 CDI Fritzens
The duo had a stellar year in 2014, winning all classes they had entered at the CDI's in Burbank, San Juan Capistrano, and Del Mar. They became the 2014 U.S. Young Riders Champions. At the 2014 North American Young Riders Championships the were second in the team test to earn team gold, but they had to withdraw from the rest of the competition due to an injury.

Buffini missed out on 2015, but they returned in 2016 at Under 25 Grand Prix level with starts at the CDI's in Burbank, Del Mar, and San Juan Capistrano. They finished the season on a high note winning the 2016 U.S. Under 25 Championship.

In 2017 Buffini spent her first winter season in Wellington, Florida, training with Debbie McDonald. They showed in two CDI's in Wellington, placing second three times and winning their last competition ride, the kur to music at the 2017 CDIO Wellington.  


Sundayboy was retired from competition sport in March 2017. 

The horse, however, did not enjoy a full retirement to the field and was kept in light work. 

Ashley Donadt and Sundayboy
"After working his whole life I noticed when I tried to turn him out fully that he enjoyed himself more when he got to exercise and trail ride during the week, so my student Ashley took him over under my teaching and exercised him and they grew in their partnership together," Anna told Eurodressage.

At age 21 Sundayboy returned to the arena as a Grand Prix schoolmaster for Ashley Donadt, who trains with Seidel and Buffini. The horse competed at some national level shows in California in the summer and autumn of 2020 and gave Donadt the thrill of a lifetime riding her first Grand Prix tests in her career. 

"In 2020 he was just so happy with her and doing so well I thought we could give her a chance at her first ever Grand Prix," said Anna. "It was still semi-retirement even though he competed. He knew his job so well she would exercise him 3 days a week just 15 minutes at a time and trail ride the rest of the week and that’s what kept him the happiest."

Sad Passing

Unfortunately the health of the dark bay gelding deteriorated recently, when he started to battle an infection in the blood. It led to his early demise. 

"It was a very rare infection that was unknown, which is why it was such a difficult situation," Buffini told Eurodressage. "My vet did such a an incredible job fighting for him the last few months."

2016 U.S. Under 25 Champions
Sundayboy was Buffini's career starting Grand Prix horse. She achieved her first National titles as a Young Rider and Under 25 rider on him and paved the path to a professional Grand Prix career. 

"Sundayboy has meant everything to my career but also just as a horse I adore him regardless of competition," she said. "He helped me become the rider I am today, he won every championship we ever entered together, he set records that still stand to this day and is one of the most decorated Young Rider/U25 horses in US dressage history. He had a huge personality and he fought so hard in the arena."

Buffini is currently U.S. squad listed with the Hanoverian mare Davinia La Douce.

"Davinia will be doing the GP freestyle next week and it was a freestyle actually made for Sundayboy originally that he never got to perform so I hope we can do well and make him proud," she said. 

Photos © Astrid Appels - Selene Scarsi - Terri Miller - Sue Stickle

Related Links
Eurodressage Photo Database: Sundayboy
Anna Buffini's Sundayboy Retired from Competition Sport
Davinia La Douce, New Grand Prix Ride for Anna Buffini