Michael Jung announced last year that his double Olympic champion partner La Biosthetique Sam FBW would no longer compete in championships, and he has now confirmed that 2018 will be the last season for the 18-year-old living legend.
“Sam came out of the winter again this year and you do not notice his 18 years,” Michael said. “On the contrary, he is fresh every day and shows me that he can hardly wait until he finally goes to compete again.”
Sam is entered to compete at Badminton, and Michael confirmed the horse will have two prep runs at Pratoni del Vivaro in Italy on March 29-April 1, and Kreuth in Germany on April 12-15. As to whether Sam will compete again after Badminton, Michael said he will wait to decide.
Sam won Badminton in 2016, which also clinched the Rolex Grand Slam for Michael. Sam has competed three times at the storied venue and never placed lower than second, his placing in both 2013 and 2017.
Last year’s winners, Andrew Nicholson and Nereo, are also entered at Badminton this year, so the stage is set for a face-off between two 18-year-old stalwarts of the sport. The entry list is a veritable Who’s Who of Eventing, and EN has detailed analysis on all the entries here.
Adding another Badminton win to Sam’s long list of accolades would be a fitting conclusion to his storied career. In addition to winning individual gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, Sam also won individual gold at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. He has Olympic team gold and silver medals, won individual and team gold at the 2009 European Championships, and was 7-year-old Reserve World Champion at Le Lion d’Angers in 2007.
Michael confirmed there will not be an official retirement ceremony for Sam at a high-profile competition, as the horse is notoriously naughty in prize givings. “So, if you want to say goodbye to Sam, you’ll join him in his final season and cheer him on.”
There is nothing quite like cross country day at Badminton. Add in the fact that Badminton could be the last run of Sam’s career, and the 2018 running of the event is poised to be one for the record books.