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Equestrian Canada – It was a bittersweet moment at the CSIO Hickstead in Great Britain on June 28, 2019, when hordes of admires turned out to celebrate the retirement of Canadian Equestrian Team member, Tripple X III (Namelus R x Nissan Catango Z), a 2002 Anglo European stallion owned by Artisan Farms LLC and known affectionately as “Hugo”.

 

Tripple X III (“Hugo”), the beloved mount of Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, was retired on July 28, 2019, in a ceremony at the CSIO Hickstead in his birthplace of Great Britain.
Photo Credit: Tilly Berendt

Hugo was bred and raised by Ben Maher of Great Britain, who took the stunning dark bay all the way to the top of the team podium at the 2012 London Olympic Games. When Ben finally readied to part with his gold medal mount in 2014, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, was eagerly waiting to pick up the ride.

“We were actually looking for a horse for my sponsor, Andy Ziegler, to ride eventually,” explained Tiffany. “When we found out Hugo was for sale, our original plan was that I was going to ride him for six months, then Andy would take the reins. Lucky for me, we ended up getting along really well and Andy slowed down with his riding, so I was able to keep riding him.”

Together, Tiffany and Hugo tackled over 100 FEI classes in five years. They represented the maple leaf in numerous Nations Cup competitions from 2014 to 2017, including helping Canada bring home the win in the $300,000 BMO Nations Cup at the 2014 CSIO 5* Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament during their first months of partnership. The pair went on to contribute to the team gold medal at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games and help the Canadian Show Jumping Team place fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“When Artisan Farms purchased Hugo, he was a godsend for both Tiffany and the Canadian team,” said Mark Laskin, Chef d’Équipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team. “Hugo came along at a pivotal time in Tiffany’s career, and together they formed a dynamic, reliable partnership that catapulted them to the highest levels of our sport. They were an integral piece of our team puzzle that came together at that time for a sustained run of successes, including the Pan American Games in Toronto and the Olympic Games in Rio. All that and he was beautiful, too!”

 
 

Hugo competed for Canada with Tiffany in the irons for multiple Nations Cup competitions, as well as the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, where the Canadian Show Jumping Team earned the gold medal, and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, pictured.
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

Having been an once-in-a-lifetime mount for two international athletes and with two gold medals under his belt – or, rather, girth – Hugo has certainly earned his retirement, which Tiffany announced on July 2 via Instagram. She commented, “We just came to the conclusion that he doesn’t owe us anything. He has jumped so many incredible rounds at such memorable places that the risk of taking him in another class and having him be injured far outweighed the reward of jumping some random class. We really want him to be able to live out his days happy and comfortable.”

Tiffany continued, “I can’t thank Andy and Carlene Ziegler enough for letting me ride him. He really was so dependable and gave me so much confidence. He suits the way I ride and I know he has made me a better rider by showing me how to do everything correctly! He has the heart of a lion and really rises to the occasion on a big day. He has taught me to listen to my horse: There were days when he just didn’t feel like himself, and on those days you have to listen to them and know that there will always be another day. One the other side of that, he taught me that when a horse is feeling good, then there’s no limit to what they can do.”

While Hugo has become a star in his adopted home of Canada, Tiffany and his team made the decision to retire the now-17-year-old in his British birthplace. Fans turned out en masse to CSIO Hickstead in West Sussex to give Hugo a standing ovation in a ceremony held before the Longines BHS King Geroges V Gold Cup, a class that he won in 2013 with Maher in the saddle.

 
 

Tiffany (left) with Hugo’s breeder and former rider, Ben Maher of Great Britain (middle), at his retirement ceremony.
Photo Credit: Tilly Berendt

“I have always felt that he should be retired at a British show,” commented Tiffany. “He was born and bred in England, won a team gold medal for Team Great Britain at the London Olympics, and I’ve always felt a lot of support from the Great Britain fans, so it seemed fitting to retire him at the most iconic British venue during the CSIO in Hickstead.”

Hugo will now swap out the limelight for the quiet life, spending the warmer months with Tiffany at her Belgium farm and wintering with Ben while Tiffany competes in Florida. His groom, Caroline Holmberg, still rides Hugo every day to keep him fit and happy, and Tiffany is able to grab the occasional hack through her picturesque village in Belgium when both her busy schedule and Caroline allow!

 
 

Hugo will spend his retirement splitting his time between Tiffany (left) and Ben’s farms and enjoying hacks with groom, Caroline Holmberg (right).
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

EC extends heartfelt thanks to Hugo – as well as the hard-working owners, athletes and support teams behind him – for the outstanding level of excellence he brought to the Canadian Show Jumping Team. Best wishes for a long and happy retirement!