Madeline Backus announced that she has decided to retire P.S. Arianna, her 17-year-old four-star partner. An Anglo-Trakehner mare (Ibsen X Amazing Raven) bred by her farrier Dennis Ackermann and started by her mother Laura, Madeline got “Ari” as a present for her 10th birthday.
Madeline and Ari came through the levels of eventing together, culminating in completing their first CCI4* at Kentucky last year and competing at Badminton this spring.
“My beloved Ari has told me that it is time she be retired from upper-level eventing. This horse has given me more than I could have ever asked for, and I’m so thankful for the story we were able to write together. I’m saddened by the end of this epic era, but happy to watch her begin her next chapter, which I’m thinking will involve some really adorable foals,” Madeline said.
“Thank you Ari for turning my dreams into a reality and being my horse of a lifetime. You have taught me courage, patience, heartbreak, triumph, and most of all, perseverance and belief in my dreams no matter the odds. Love you always my small and mighty mare; the past 12 years have been a spectacular journey.”
Ari competed at the international level for eight seasons. In addition to contesting Kentucky and Badminton, she also finished 13th at the Jersey Fresh CCI3* and 25th at Fair Hill CCI3* in 2016. The mare also represented Area IX at the FEI North American Junior & Young Championships in 2011 and 2014.
Madeline and Ari have been based in England for much of the 2018 season thanks to funding received from two grants: the $10,000 Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant and the $45,000 Wilton Fair Grant, which is given to a rider 29 and under who has not yet ridden for a senior U.S. team.
“We will be heading back to the U.S. from England the second week of August, where Ari will live a fat and happy life on the the same grounds she frolicked as a yearling,” Madeline said.
“The more I learn about this sport, the more amazed I become at how lucky I am to have had such an incredible horse and so many influential people, mentors, friends, and companies supporting us all the way. Here’s to you, Ari, and thank you to everyone who has helped us write our story.”
We wish Madeline and Ari a safe journey home and look forward to meeting those foals. Go Eventing.