The USEA is saddened to share the news that Arthur (Brandenburg’s Windstar x Kelly), the Arthur Syndicate’s Irish Sport Horse gelding, passed away suddenly at the age of 21. Well-known as a dressage powerhouse and talented jumper, Arthur, with his rider Allison Springer, competed successfully at the highest levels of the sport for 10 years.
"I am devastated to share the news that my beloved Arthur has passed away suddenly after an episode of laminitis. Arthur was my best friend, and over the past 16 years, he made so many of my dreams come true. He and I traveled the world together, competing at events that I had only dreamed of when I was younger. We had many moments of triumph, and some moments of heartbreak, but in every moment, I was always incredibly proud to be his partner and his person. Arthur taught me what a true partnership meant and looked like, and a part of my heart will belong to him forever," said Springer in a Facebook post.
Arthur was bred by Michael Godfrey and his eventing career began at the age of 4 with Virginia Rowsell competing at the Novice level. Arthur stepped up to Training level at the end of his 4-year-old year, and the following spring was purchased by Springer. Within a year, Springer and Arthur were competing successfully at the Preliminary level. Arthur attempted his first CCI* (now CCI2*-L) in the fall of 2005, where he finished in 13th place. He also competed in the Preliminary Horse division at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) that fall, where he was 13th as well.
In the spring of 2006, Arthur moved up to the Intermediate level. After a season with several top finishes at the Intermediate level, Springer and Arthur returned to the USEA AEC to compete in the Preliminary Horse division again, this time placing second. Arthur completed his first CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Radnor Hunt that fall.
In March of his 8-year-old year, Arthur finished fourth in his first attempt at the Advanced level at Pine Top. He was fourth in his first CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) a month later at The Fork, and finished eighth in his first CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Jersey Fresh International in May. After picking up top finishes in the CIC3*s at Maui Jim and Richland Park, Springer and Arthur competed in the Advanced division at the USEA AEC, finishing in third place.
As a 9-year-old, Arthur continued to earn top results at the three-star level and made his first trip to compete at the Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) where he was 13th. That fall, Springer and Arthur traveled to Deauville in France to compete in the FEI World Cup Eventing Final, where they were 20th overall.
In 2009, Springer and Arthur returned to the Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI4*, this time placing 14th. In the fall, they traveled to Great Britain where they competed in the Blenheim Palace International CCI3*, finishing 22nd, after rerouting from Burghley.
Arthur was fifth in the CIC3* at Red Hills and second in the CIC3* at The Fork before making his third trip to Kentucky in 2010, where he placed 25th. He and Springer then traveled across the pond to Germany to compete in the CCI4* at Luhmühlen where they were clear on cross-country but withdrew from the competition before show jumping. In their fourth trip to the USEA AEC that fall they were 14th in the Advanced division. In Arthur’s third trip to compete in the Advanced division at the USEA AEC in September of 2011, he placed fifth. The following month, he was seventh in the CCI3* at Fair Hill International.
In 2012, Arthur and Springer were named the USEF National CCI4* Champions after finishing in second place at the Kentucky Three-Day Event, and the pair was short-listed for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. That fall, Arthur and Springer finished sixth in the Burghley Horse Trials CCI4*.
Arthur and Springer made their sixth trip to Kentucky in 2014, placing 24th, and returned to Burghley for the third time in the fall, placing 21st. In 2016, Springer and Arthur won the CIC3* at Carolina International, made their seventh trip to Kentucky, and were 11th in the Advanced division at the USEA AEC.
In the spring of 2017, Arthur was on track to make his eighth trip to compete at Kentucky when he was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia. After extensive testing, it was concluded that it was time for Arthur to retire from upper level eventing. With a long history of scoring near the top of the leaderboard at Kentucky after dressage, the Ground Jury allowed Springer and Arthur to perform an exhibition test as the final ride of the dressage that year.
Over the span of his 14-year eventing career, Arthur completed 101 USEA recognized event, 38 of which were FEI competitions. He spent 10 years competing at the highest levels of eventing and 12 years competing in FEI divisions, bringing home 10 blue ribbons and 44 top-five finishes. Together, he and Springer were named to the USEF High Performance List on multiple occasions.
"Thank you to my parents and the remarkable members of the Arthur Syndicate for your unwavering support over the years," said Springer. "Arthur was lucky to have a remarkable team behind him every step of the way, from his many grooms and the working students who spent hours caring for him, to his team of vets, farriers and beyond. I will never be able to express my true gratitude for all you did for him to help him feel his best for so long. I would be remiss if I did not thank the many people who cheered us on from near and far. Arthur loved nothing more than a photo-op or an adoring fan, and he appreciated each and every one of you."
"'Arty' was a party in every sense of the word, even if at times that party was one he created in his own mind. I will never stop missing him. If it were up to me, Arthur would have lived forever, but I will forever be grateful I was the person in the world he chose to love most," concluded Springer.
The USEA sends our deepest condolences to Springer and all of Arthur’s connections and fans.
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.