Ballynoe Castle RM Passes Away Peacefully at Age 21

Buck Davidson, Ballynoecastle RM and Kathleen Blauth-Murray. Photo by Sally Spickard.

What do you say when one of the greatest horses to grace our sport passes? What comes to mind in this moment is: it’s been an honor. It’s what we would say to Ballynoe Castle RM, the longtime partner and friend of Buck Davidson and owners Carl and Cassie Segal, who passed away peacefully in his Ocala field earlier today at the age of 21.

Before he was the winningest event horse in U.S. eventing history, “Reggie” was first and foremost a beloved family member for Carl and Cassie Segal, who have been longtime supporters of Buck’s. After his retirement from competition in 2017, Reggie went to live in luxury at the Segal’s farm in New Jersey, but still traveled with the BDJ crew to Ocala for the winters. In 2019, Breyer Horses created a model of the bay gelding.

Purchased sight unseen from Ireland and Patricia Nicholson as a six-year-old by the Segals, the Irish Sport Horse gelding by Ramiro B showed up to work every day. It was Buck who would produce him up from the Preliminary level, ultimately completing 35 international competitions and 51 USEA national competitions. In 2013, Buck and Reggie were named USEF National Champions when they finished fourth in the Kentucky CCI4*. They also finished in third place, their best then CCI4* finish, in 2014. In total, Reggie completed six CCI4* competitions, including the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington.

In January 2015, the USEA announced that Reggie had surpassed Winsome Adante as the overall points leader in USEA history with a total of 1,377 points accumulated. He would go on to retire in 2017 in a ceremony at Kentucky with over 1,600 USEA points, including those earned when he spent the last year of his career partnering with his longtime groom, Kathleen Murray (he also played a large role in Kathleen’s wedding in 2014).

Team Reggie! Buck Davidson, Kathleen Murray, Cassie and Carl Segal. Photo via Kathleen Murray.

It’s the greatest horses that make the greatest stories. Among his countless accomplishments and accolades are woven even more innumerable memories, moments made even more special. I think it’s safe to say that it’s these moments that those who loved Reggie will cherish the most.

“It’s bittersweet for me to see him retire, but it’s great to see him retire on top of the sport and healthy,” Carl told me when Reggie retired. “It’s impossible to replicate — there will never be another Reggie. I think the thing that stands out to me the most is how similar Buck and Reggie are. They both work so hard and want to please. The partnership that they developed is so special. We had no idea when we bought him that he’d end up being a superstar. He and Buck are both very resilient, and that hard work really shows in the consistency of their performance and the longevity of their career together.”

Kathleen Murray and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

“My life is owed to him,” Buck told Nancy Jaffer in 2017. “It was a great career and I’m thankful I was actually able to be the one who steered him around. It was a joy every single day.”

We know Buck will be riding with in Reggie’s honor today at Kentucky – what had to have been Reggie’s favorite place to compete. Please join us in sending our sympathies and thoughts to Buck, the Segal family, Kathleen, and all of the countless others who were privileged enough to spend time with this legend of a horse.

Here are just a handful of our favorite Reggie moments:

A fan meets Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kathleen Murray and Ballynoe Castle RM head into the ring. Photo via Maralee Paul on Instagram.

Kathleen Murray and Ballynoe Castle RM head down the ramp with their entourage in tow. Photo by JJ Sillman.

Super groom Kathleen Blauth-Murray rides Ballynoe Castle RM at the Jersey Fresh awards ceremony. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Reggie gives EN’s own Sally Spickard a boost in Ocala. Photo by Kelly Dutton.

Some quiet time with Reggie. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Photo by Jenni Autry.