Finishing in the top 10 at a CCI4* is a major accomplishment for any horse. Multiple top 10 finishes in a horse’s career are all the more impressive still. When a horse delivers multiple top 10 finishes with different riders, we give him a standing ovation!
In the last decade only three horses have achieved top 10 results at CCI4* level with multiple riders. Mr Medicott is the only horse on the list to have the results spread between three different riders – Frank Ostholt, Karen O’Connor and most recently Phillip Dutton.
Mr Medicott retired from the upper levels this year at 18 years old, but not before securing a sixth top 10 CCI4* result at Kentucky to take the title of 2017 US National CCI4* Champion. Mr Medicott conquered the highest level of the sport on three different continents with three different jockeys (and he competed at the two-star level with Marilyn Little!) with an 89.% clear cross country rate in his 46 international runs.
Known as Cave to his friends, Mr Medicott started his international career with Frank Ostholt as a 6-year-old in 2005, racking up notable placings right from the beginning and finishing 5th at Le Lion d’Angers the following year as a 7-year-old. He went on to finish second in his first CCI3* at Boekelo in 2007.
In 2008 Cave represented Germany at the Beijing Olympics and finished 21st individually in his four-star debut to help the team win gold. Cave capped his 2008 season with his first top 10 finish at CCI4* level, finishing 3rd at Pau.
After being sidelined through the 2009 season, Cave came back with a bang in 2010, winning Saumur CCI3* and clinching an individual slot for Germany at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington. While he delivered his personal best CCI4* dressage score of 40.7, 20 jumping penalties on cross country kept him from finishing in the top 20.
In 2011 Cave returned to cracking form at CCI4* level, finishing 10th at Pau with Frank to clinch the second CCI4* top 10 of his career. That winter he was sold to America as an Olympic hopeful for Karen O’Connor. Cave didn’t disappoint, finishing 4th at Kentucky for his third CCI4* top 10 result. He went on to the London Olympics to clinch his fourth result by finishing 9th as the highest placed American horse.
After Karen retired from competing, Cave went to Phillip Dutton and promptly went on to Pau to finish 4th in 2013. Poised for another top CCI4* finish the following spring at Kentucky, an injury ultimately forced his withdrawal before show jumping. Phillip meticulously rehabilitated Cave to give him one more shot at a CCI4*, always believing the horse wasn’t ready to retire.
Three years later Cave returned to the CCI4* level at Kentucky 2017, finishing 4th with a heroic clear show jumping round on the final day to become the new US National CCI4* Champion. He is now retired from the upper levels and enjoying a slower pace of life teaching Phillip’s daughter Olivia the ropes. What a horse!
We have already shouted our love for Armada, the second horse on the list, but let’s go again! Over the last 10 seasons, he has posted more clear cross country rounds at CCI3*/CCI4* level than any other horse in the world. When you consider he dominated on cross country with two different riders, Armada’s CCI4* record is all the more impressive.
He clinched seven top 10 finishes at CCI4* level in his career with Andrew Nicholson and Oliver Townend. Armada also came the closest to winning a CCI4* out of the three horses on this list, finishing 2nd at Badminton in 2014.
He finished 8th with Andrew at Burghley in 2008 to deliver his first top 10 at CCI4*. Armada then finished 10th at Luhmühlen in both 2010 and 2011 with Andrew before going on to Oliver. He had a smashing 2012 season with Oliver, finishing 8th at Luhmühlen and 4th at Burghley.
In 2014 Armada narrowly missed winning Badminton, finishing 2nd behind Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh with one too many rails down in show jumping. That same year he finished 8th at Burghley to secure the final top 10 CCI4* result of his career.
Rathmoyle King has the honor of being the third and final horse on the list, securing two top 10 CCI4* finishes in his career with Carolyne Ryan-Bell and Andrew Nicholson (there he is again!). He finished 9th at Badminton with Carolyne in 2010, and Andrew briefly took the ride during the 2013 season, piloting the horse to 6th at Luhmühlen.
Between them, Mr Medicott, Armada and Rathmoyle King delivered 27 clear cross country rounds at CCI4* level during their careers, with 14 rounds inside the optimum time. They have 29 combined completions at three-star level, also spread amongst their different riders.
In eventing we talk a lot about the importance of the partnership between horse and rider. When a horse can consistently deliver notable results with different riders, we certainly can’t discount the partnership. In this case, it’s the sheer love of the game that shines through.