Phillip Dutton on Tuesday morning announced the retirement of his WEG and Olympic partner, Z, from top competition at the age of 15.
Phillip reported that the Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bellabouche, by Babouche GH Gehucht Z) sustained some injuries at Pau last month (he withdrew the gelding following cross country) that will require rehabilitation and recovery. “At 15 years old, it would not be in Z’s best interest to try to bring him back to the level of fitness and training needed for the international level. He will get all the medical attention and rehab that he needs to set him up for the next, easier chapter in his life,” he wrote on social media.
Z is the type of horse who comes into your barn full of stories of tell. He began his career in Portugal under the tutelage of Francisco Seabra, who sadly passed away in a riding accident on a different horse in 2015. At that point, Z, who had competed through the then-CIC1* level of eventing, went to Francisco’s brother, Duarte, finishing seventh in the Young Horse World Breeding Championships at Le Lion d’Angers as a 6-year-old. Duarte then made the switch to pure show jumping, but he knew something special lay in this horse in a plain brown wrapper. “I liked the way he looked at you,” Duarte told me a few years ago.