Legendary Event Horse Ringwood Cockatoo Passes Away at Age 27

In an emotional Facebook statement, Germany’s Bettina Hoy announced today that her two-time four-star winner and Athens Olympics partner Ringwood Cockatoo had been euthanised at the age of 27.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post,” read the statement. “Ringwood Cockatoo decided today that it was time for his last big journey. He gave me the proudest moment of my sporting career and although I don’t have the medal to prove it, to me he will always be the Olympic champion. RIP Cockatoo.

“My biggest thank you goes to Claire Llewelyn, who gave him the most wonderful time and home when he retired from the international circuit.”

Ringwood Cockatoo enjoyed a long and illustrious career at the top level of the sport, winning ten times at the three-star level and twice at four-star, triumphing in the inaugural CCI4* at Luhmühlen in 2005, and at Pau in 2008.

He finished ninth at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and helped his team to a bronze medal at the 2005 European Championships and a gold medal at the 2006 World Equestrian Games. In 2007, he would go on to claim the individual bronze at the Pratoni European Championships.

Bred in Ireland, the reliable first-phase leader was produced to two-star by Switzerland’s Nadine Sola-Perret, before being sold on. He was initially piloted by Bettina’s former husband, Andrew, but the ride was soon passed on to Bettina.

At the time of his retirement, in an emotional ceremony at Boekelo in 2009, Ringwood Cockatoo had amassed an impressive 2,087 British Eventing points, and was, at that point, the most successful German event horse of all time.

He then spent the 2010 season showing young Thai rider Promton Kingwan the ropes at the BE100 (Training) and Novice (Preliminary) levels, before moving back to the UK in 2011 to enjoy his retirement — and plenty of outings to dressage competitions — with Claire Llewelyn, wife of commentator Justin. The Llewelyns had also provided a happy retirement home for Leslie Law‘s late superstar, Shear H20.

Our thoughts are with Bettina, Claire, and all of Ringwood Cockatoo’s connections and admirers.