Rubens D’Ysieux Stepping Back from FEI Levels

Sara Kozumplik and Rubens D’ysieux. Photo by Shelby Allen.

At 19 years old, Rubens D’Ysieux has had a long career at the upper levels. Beginning with Michele Kuchta, “Rubens” won his first ever FEI event, a CIC1* in 2013 at Poplar Place Horse Trials in Hamilton, GA. Eventually, Sara Kozumplik took over the ride on Rubens, owned by herself and Edy Rameika, in 2016 when the gray Selle Francais was 11 years old. Now, after traveling through North America with Sara on board, Rubens is stepping down from the upper levels after finishing in the top ten at the TerraNova 4*-S earlier this month.

Far from being injured or mentally “burnt out”, Sara is preemptively stepping Rubens back from the most demanding levels of the sport, purely so he can continue to do what he loves. “I’m not retiring him from doing things. I just am not going to ask him to do that level of eventing competition anymore. He’s 19 and he’s been jumping consistently since he was four years old. He’s done a lot and he’s still really keen and really enjoys his job. But I just don’t think he should be asked to gallop as much as is required for FEI events. He’s not a Thoroughbred, he’s more like a show jumper. And so for him, that’s kind of a lot.”

While bravery is one of Rubens’ best traits, Sara doesn’t want his big heart to get him into trouble as he gets older. “He’s very, very brave. He’s almost sometimes too brave and will drag me down to a fence. With everything that he’s done, I’m just recognizing what is appropriate for him to do. And the very last thing I want is for him to drag me down to something out of heart, and then hurt himself.”

Sara Kozumplik and Rubens d’Ysieux claim victory in the Dixon Oval! US Equestrian photo.

We may not see Rubens sailing around Kentucky or the Maryland 5 Star, but keep an eye out for him in the show jumping ring and particularly at his favorite event, Devon Arena Eventing typically held at the Devon Horse Show at the end of May. “If you go to Devon, the girls that work for me will tell you, you can barely get on and I have to flip onto him from the side of the ring. He just loves it. He thinks that they built the show for him. He thinks it’s amazing. You can barely hold on to one side of him until you get him in the ring and then he’s perfect. And so I don’t want to take that away from him. He really enjoys that stuff.”

Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Shelby Allen.

As for Sara, she’s not relinquishing the reins anytime soon. She says she’ll keep riding Rubens as long as he enjoys what they’re doing together. “I’m gonna keep riding him in these small Grand Prixs and show jumping. It’s really great for me, for my experience, and I really enjoy that but I’ll know the second it’s too much, and then that’s fine. We’ll move on to the next thing, but right now, we’re managing everything.”

For his first job as a semi-retiree, Rubens played the role of schoolmaster in a week-long clinic Sara held at the farm for the Barbados Equestrian Association and the Trinidad & Tobago Equestrian Association (more on this to come!). After one of the horses Sara had leased for the job was unable to come, Rubens stepped up to the task.

“He certainly wasn’t supposed to be doing the clinic. I mean, I trust him to do that – he’s certainly one that I would do that sort of thing with like, let them just trot around and things like that, simply because I trust him implicitly,” Sara said. “I always call him a circus pony because he’s lovely. And I trust him more with these little kids than I trust him with me. It wasn’t like it was very hard work. He enjoyed it. He’s on a little bit of a holiday right now.”

Sara Kozumplik and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

While Rubens is relaxing at home on his holiday, you’ll find Sara leaving the start box with Rock Phantom at the Defender Kentucky Three Day Event next week. As you watch Sara tackle the course as the field’s trailblazer, pour one out in honor of the big gray who tackled this course just last year. Thanks for the memories, Rubens, and happy retirement!

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