Grandioso III Formally Retired in Spain and US.04.03.2017
One of the dressage world's most beloved PREs was retired in grand style, in the two countries that claim a part of him as their own.
In November, at SICAB--the annual PRE Horse convention in Sevilla, Spain--Grandioso's Farewell was a highlight of the Saturday evening Espectaculo. Six friends and colleagues of rider Jose Daniel Martin Dockx were part of the ceremony, mounted on PRE horses, including Jose Mena, Samuel Oliva, Antonio Blanco, and others. An emotional video presentation compiled by ANCCE highlighted the stunning 5 year international career of the horse for the Spanish Dressage Team, which included 2 Olympics, a World Games, 2 European Championships, 3 Aachen Nations Cups, and 2 National Championships. Martin Dockx and Grandioso's final ride in Spain was the new Kur designed by Marlene Whitaker for the Olympic year: The Impossible Dream with themes from Man of La Mancha. Following the ride, the tearful removal of the saddle was done in the presence of owner Kimberly Van Kampen, breeder Javier Marin Fidalgo, and Head Groom Mohamad Mahmoud. After this, rider, groom and horse, made a final pass around the arena to an ovation of gratitude from the Spanish audience.
At the beginning of January, Grandioso said a final good-bye to the country of his birth, and traveled back to the United State, where he had competed for 7 years prior and where he will live out a pampered retirement. He was flown into Miami, and taken first to the quarantine stabling at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, to begin to prepare for his American farewell at the annual USPRE week at the end of January. This ceremony was equally moving and unforgettable. Grandioso's story includes a significant start to his career in the United States, where he was earmarked as an up-and-coming superstar in the hands of Courtney King Dye. The pair had finished Fifth in the USEF Festival of Champions in 2009 at the Small Tour, and were preparing for their first international Grand Prix in 2010 when a tragic accident sidelined the riding career of King Dye. Although the horse eventually returned to Spain to initiate his Grand Prix career, he was always followed and loved by the American dressage community, especially the PRE breeders and owners who felt that Grandioso was an inspiration for all that a well-bred, well-trained PRE sport horse could acheive.
Grandioso's US Farewell happened during the USPRE-sponsored Friday Night Freestyles under the lights. Jose Daniel Martin Dockx performed the new Kur again, showing a horse in top form with outstanding piaffe, passage, extended trots, half-passes and pirouettes. Grandioso appeared thrilled to perform again for an electric audience that filled the VIP tents and stands at the International Arena. Following the ride, USPRE presented Grandioso with a most unique cooler, adorned with all of the titles and championships of his career. There was an audible gasp of "No" when the saddle was removed. Dr. Jane Bistline of the USPRE Board of Directors presented the cooler, and the horse made a final walk in hand to say good-bye to a second country that also loved him.
Since January, Grandioso has completed the required 6 weeks of CEM Stallion Quarantine, and is now residing back at Hampton Green Farm in Wellington. He will travel at the end of the spring to the Michigan farm to begin a new career: as a Qualified improver stallion to the US PRE herd.
Videos of the ceremonies: