We’re back to throwing it back on a Thursday, one of our favorite features. Today we want to remember a very special…
It was hard to miss the striking chestnut gelding as he effortlessly floated across the Kentucky Bluegrass at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games. I remember Woodburn being later in the order of go, and I turned to watch the television showing the live feed in the booth we were shopping in the trade fair. We’d spent the whole day out on cross country after pulling an all-nighter to drive from St. Louis on a last minute WEG whim. I was mesmerized by the rhythm of the New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding – it had to be one of the most memorable gallops I’d ever seen.
Sadly, Phillip’s time with Woodburn was cut short when the gelding was euthanized following acute internal bleeding. Just over a year past his top 20 finish at the World Equestrian Games, his star was extinguished.
But his memory and legacy lives on, and Woodburn is still one of our favorites to revisit even today. After being imported from New Zealand by Liz Millikin, Phillip eventually acquired the ride with the help of owners Jess and Sharon Sweeley, Annie Jones, and Maddy Fawcett. “I loved the horse from the first time I sat on him and thought he had the makings of a world-class horse,” he recalled on his Hall of Fame web page.
Phillip and Woodburn collected a slew of admirable placings (10th in his then-CCI4* debut at Kentucky in 2008, 12th in 2009, 2nd in 2010). “I have no doubt that I will never ride a better cross-country horse in my life,” Phillip told The Chronicle after the gelding’s passing.
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