Burghley Winner Carousel Quest Passes Away Aged 25

We’re saddened to report that Carousel Quest, Oliver Townend‘s 2009 Burghley winner, has been put to sleep aged 25, following a long and happy retirement.

View this post on Instagram

It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Carousel Quest. Andrew Cawthray’s “Quest” was a horse I had long admired before I had the pleasure of taking on the ride in 2008 and from the word go we formed a strong partnership finishing runners up at The Festival of British Eventing, winning the Scottish Championships, placing 5th at Fontainebleau and 8th at Kentucky before the highlight of his career: winning Burghley in 2009. He finished top 10 in another two CCI4*’s (now CCI5*-L) before retiring to a quieter life and had the honours of parading at Burghley to commemorate his successful career. Quest was always a quirky horse but had a heart of gold and was besides a talented competition partner a very dear friend to me and he will leave a huge hole behind. He was one of the horses who cemented my name on the map and I will always treasure the memories and what we accomplished together. Quest, thanks for everything and say hi to the other old guys up there for us!

A post shared by Oliver Townend Official (@olivertownendofficial) on

“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Carousel Quest,” said Oliver in a statement on social media. “Andrew Cawthray‘s ‘Quest’ was a horse I had long admired before I had the pleasure of taking on the ride in 2008, and from the word go we formed a strong partnership, finishing runners-up at the Festival of British Eventing, winning the Scottish Championships, placing 5th at Fontainebleau and 8th at Kentucky before the highlight of his career: winning Burghley in 2009. He finished top ten in another two CCI4*s (now CCI5*-L) before retiring to a quieter life, and had the honour of parading at Burghley to commemorate his successful career.”

“Quest was always a quirky horse but had a heart of gold and was, besides a talented competition partner, a very dear friend to me, and he will leave a huge hole behind. He was one of the horses who cemented my name on the map and I will always treasure the memories and what we accomplished together. Quest, thanks for everything, and say hi to the other old guys up there for us!”

Previously owned and produced to CCI5*-L by Cressida Clague Reading, the Irish Sport Horse gelding (Carousel x Vickidora) recorded top-five finishes at Chatsworth CCI4*-S, Bramham CCI4*-L, and Burghley CCI5* before moving to Oliver’s yard, and into the ownership of longtime supporter Andrew Cawthray, in 2008. Here, the notoriously mercurial – though undeniably talented – grey would enjoy two full and fruitful seasons. Though Oliver would often choose to withdraw partway through a competition if he felt the horse wasn’t at his best, they would only fail to complete one of the internationals they set out to, and would otherwise never finish outside the top ten.

But the horse’s success didn’t come without an enormous amount of work and care, as Oliver explained in a 2012 interview with the Independent: “Carousel Quest had been sold twice and failed the vets both times. We got him to Burghley without galloping him; a long, slow tedious process. But he was in a different league; you could tell that the moment you sat on him.”

Quest’s Burghley victory in 2009 would put Oliver firmly in contention for the Rolex Grand Slam, though his dream would be thwarted by a nasty fall at Kentucky with Ashdale Cruise Master the following spring. A fourth-place finish at Burghley in 2010 would help to end the year on a high for the rider, although it would prove to be Quest’s final international competition: in 2011, he was withdrawn after showjumping at Belton CCI4*-S, and later that year, the sixteen-year-old would say goodbye to his many fans formally, in the main arena at the Lincolnshire five-star he’d won so easily. He would retire with an impressive 1,212 British Eventing points to his name, but more pertinently, the poignant honour of having been Oliver’s first Burghley winner. Eight years after that first win, Oliver would romp to a second on another quirky grey: the great Ballaghmor Class.

 

Our thoughts are with Oliver, Andrew, and all of Carousel Quest’s connections and admirers.

Comments