Sep 19, 2023

In Memoriam: Mr. Medicott

Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The USEA is sad to report that Mr. Medicott (Cruising x Slieveluachra) passed away on September 17 at Ms. Jacqueline Mars’ Stonehall Farm in Virginia where he has enjoyed his retirement since 2019. The Irish Sport Horse gelding made quite the mark on the sport of eventing in the U.S., completing over 50 FEI events over the course of his career with five different riders and finishing in the top 10 at 30 of those competitions. Mr. Medicott attended two Olympic Games and one World Equestrian Games for two different countries over the course of his career. “Cave,” as he was known around the barn, was 24 years old at the time of his death.

Cave was bred by Dr. Donal Geany in Ireland in 1999 under the name Crag Cave Slieveluachra. Francis Connors produced him as a young horse before Herman Horst acquired him at the age of six for German rider Frank Ostholt. Ostholt and Cave competed in the 7-year-old FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Le Lion d’Angers where the 16.3-hand gelding finished fifth. After representing Germany with Ostholt at Strezgom (Poland) in the three-star competition (now four-star), the duo was named to the 2008 Hong Kong Olympic Games team, where they would help Germany win team gold.

In 2010, Cave made his first trip to the U.S. as part of the German team competing at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. After a 21st-place finish, Cave would return to the U.S. in 2011, but this time under new ownership. Purchased by the Mr. Medicott Syndicate, which included Sarah Broussard, Mars, and Suzanne Lacy, Cave was set to be a prospective mount for Karen O’Connor to take to the London Olympics in 2012.

Karen and Mr. Medicott at the Bromont CCI. Photo

In their season together, O’Connor and Cave placed in the top five at the CCI4*-S at Red Hills (Tallahasse, Florida) and The Fork (Norwood, North Carolina), and then later would place fourth at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. They made their way to Bromont (Canada) where they would win the CCI4*-S before heading overseas to Europe for their final Olympic prep run at Barbury Castle.

With O’Connor in the tack, Cave would finish ninth place individually at the 2012 London Olympics, adding only 5.6 time penalties to their dressage score. They were the highest-placed U.S. pair at the Games that year.

With the help of Dr. Mark Hart and the Event Owners Task Force, a group of owners including Bruce Duchossois, Annie Jones, Stephanie Speakman, Tom Tierney, and Caroline Moran came together to join the existing Mr. Medicott Syndicate and secure the ride on Cave for Phillip Dutton.

"Unfortunately for me, I got him towards the end of his career, but it was still a great experience to have a horse of that quality," said Dutton. "He had three very good phases. He wasn't a dead-quiet horse at the show; you had to work him down to get a good test out of him, but he had a very good dressage and was a brilliant cross-country horse, and then a phenomenal show jumper as well."

In their first event together, Dutton and Cave placed in the top 20 at the CCI4*-S level, but the following month they would greatly improve upon that performance and finish in fifth place at the CCI4*-S at Plantation Field (Unionville, Pennsylvania). They continued to improve their partnership and returned to the Pau CCI5*-L for the third time in Cave’s career to finish fourth.

While a few years of ups and downs due to injuries might have put a pause on the momentum on his record, the best was yet to come. At the age of 18, nearly three years away from the level, Cave returned to Kentucky for the famed then four-star, now five-star, in 2017 and was named the USEF National CCI4* Championship title and placed fourth overall.

Mr. Medicott and Phillip Dutton on their way to the 2017 USEF CCI4* National Championship title. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo

It was at that point in his career that Dutton decided to scale Cave back from the highest levels and passed the reins on to his daughter, Olivia Dutton. Together, the pair were consistent at the national levels before taking on their first international competition together in 2018 where they placed third. Cave would continue to carry Olivia on to meet many goals and dreams, a sentiment that Olivia shared was game-changing in her career as an equestrian.

“He is such an amazing and talented horse who knew his job and worked very hard for his riders,” Olivia shared in a previous article about Cave’s career. “Cave had such a lasting impact on me, and really helped me as a rider.”

Phillip laughed when asked what it was like to watch Olivia form a partnership with Cave. "I would have liked for him to settle a bit more!" he said. "He was such a competitor, and she had her hands full managing him [on cross-country.] The last show jumping round she had on him, we were a bit rushed in the warm up, but he went in and jumped a beautiful clear round."

Cave was formerly retired following show jumping at the 2018 NAYC at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, Montana) in a very moving ceremony.

"He was certainly a character," Phillip remembered. "He was a big cribber. If he was ever in the barn you knew where he was at because you could hear him! He enjoyed life and was one of those ones that pinned his ears and tried to bite you as you were doing up the girth, but he liked the attention and liked to be hugged. He was pretty prepared to express himself, it didn't matter whether it was good or bad. He was very confident in himself. He was certainly one of those horses who truly loved what he did."

He will be loved and missed by all who knew him. The USEA shares our condolences to everyone who was involved in Cave’s lifelong legacy.

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