We are deeply saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Arthur, the long-time equine partner of Allison Springer‘s, who captured the hearts of eventing fans throughout his 16-year career.
The 21-year-old Irish Sport Horse cross gelding was laid to rest after bout of laminitis, a crippling disease of the hoof whose etiology is not completely understood, but has been the Achilles heel, so to speak, of several great horses including Secretariat and 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.
Despite being notoriously spooky, a trait which would have perhaps put off other riders, Allison brought Arthur along from a “wild” five-year-old to a world-class athlete. The bond which saw them through over a decade of competition was a partnership in the truest sense of the word and Allison’s love for the tall liver chestnut was palpable to any who was fortunate enough to watch them.
Arthur and Allison first made heads turn with their 8th place finish at Jersey Fresh CCI4*-L in 2007 and were subsequently named to the USEF Developing Rider List for the first of four times in their career. They completed the Kentucky Three-Day event for the first time in 2008 and would go on to compete in 9 more CCI5*-L events.
Some of their most notable finishes include second place in the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2012, also earning the title of USEF National CCI5*-L Champion, and a sixth-place finish at Burghley Horse Trials later that year. The pair was also named as an Alternate for Team USA at the World Equestrian Games in 2010, and were shortlisted for the Olympics in 2012. The pair completed 38 of 44 FEI Events they entered.
At 18-years-old, Arthur was diagnosed with a heart condition and was subsequently retired from eventing. The diagnosis came shortly before the Kentucky Three-Day event in 2017 in which he was entered. Instead of competing in the event as originally planned, Allison and Arthur performed their dressage test as an exhibition round which served as an emotional and memorable farewell to competition for the horse. In his retirement, Arthur happily enjoyed teaching some of Allison’s lucky students who rode him in lessons.
In a statement released this morning, Allison said, “Arthur was my best friend and putting what our partnership meant to me into words would be impossible. Over the past 16 years, Arthur taught me many things, and took me many places. He made some of my wildest dreams possible. He always kept me on my toes, and although he was not the easiest horse at times, he taught me what a true partnership should look like. In every one of our moments together, I was always honored to be Arthur’s rider, friend, and person. While I am devastated at losing him so suddenly, a piece of my heart will forever belong to him.”
Dr. Johns, Arthur’s long-time veterinarian, remarked, “The way Allison and Arthur loved one another is not something that you see every day and extended far beyond their partnership in the ring. It was a privilege to be part of Arthur’s support team for the past fifteen years. He is certainly a horse who made a big impact on many, including myself, and he will be deeply missed.”
Allison said she would like to extend her sincere gratitude to the members of The Arthur Syndicate LLC, and to her parents, for their long and unwavering support. She would also like to recognize his many grooms, vets, farriers and each and every person who made it possible for Arthur to have such a wonderful life and career. Lastly, Allison thanked Arthur’s many fans for always cheering him on. From the gallop lanes in Kentucky to the constant kind messages over the years, Arthur loved every moment of his time in the spotlight.
A few of our favorite photos of the pair from over the years:
The EN team sends our deepest condolences to Allison, her parents, and all of the connections that knew and loved Arthur.