Kristina Leonova's Real Life Retired from Sport

Mon, 01/09/2023 - 11:56
Kristina Leonova and Real Life at the 2019 European Junior Riders Championships :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Russian young rider Kristina Leonova has retired her top horse, Real Life, from sport.The Russian social media page Dressagestars_ru reported the news of real Life's retirement.

Real Life is a 19-year old Danish warmblood gelding by Romanov out of Dreamgirl Sonderskov (by Leandro). He is bred by Morten Thomsen.

Danish Start

Real Life began his show career in Denmark in 2010 as a 6-year old under Sarah Thomsen. 

In 2011 Morten, a renowned Danish trainer, competed the horse briefly himself but then the gelding disappeared from the show scene for almost three years. 

In 2014 Real Life returned to the Danish show scene under American Ali Potasky, who competed him in several Prix St Georges level tests. 

Sold to Russia

In 2017 Real Life resurfaced in Germany under Tina Fischer, who competed hum at some local shows until June.

The Russian Leonova family discovered Real Life for sale in Paul Schockemöhle's stable that year, where he was being trained by Isabel Freese. 

The pair made its international show debut at junior level at Maxima Park in December 2017. In 2018 the pair twice made its way to Europe to show in Joosland and Hagen. They were selected on the Russian team for the 2018 European Junior Championships in Fontainebleau, but ended up not competing there. 

In 2019 they campaigned in Sopot, Moscow, Joosland, and Hagen which clinched them a nomination on the Russian team for the 2019 European Junior Riders Championships in San Giovanni in Marignano (ITA), where they placed 14th in the Kur to Music Finals.  At the end of 2019 they moved up to Young Riders level.

At the 2021 European Young Riders Championships
In 2020 the corona pandemic made it particularly difficult for Russian athletes to get their shows and selections in. Leonova and Real Life showed last in March 2020 and then more than half a year break followed. They made their CDI come back in November 2022. Also in 2021, Leonova did not have to compete at any CDI's but still got picked for the Russian team for the 2021 European Young Riders Championships in Oliva Nova (ESP), where they were unfortunately eliminated in the team test. 


At national level Leonova and Real Life were the 2018 Russian Junior Champions. 

According to Dressagestars, the pair competed in 143 tests in six years time, national and international shows included. They placed 83 times and won 31 times. The pair was trained by Anastasia Volkova.

Real Life is now retired from sport, while Leonova's Under 25 mount, the 16-year old Belarussian cross-bred Chocolate (by Karat), is "on vacation". 

Since 2 March 2022 all Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Horses and Officials are banned from international events following the recommendation of the IOC Executive Board on 28 February 2022 due to Russia's invasion of and war in Ukraine. 

Photos © Astrid Appels

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