The USEA is saddened to share that Louis M (Lissabon x Angelique M), Alexa Gartenberg’s Rheinland Pfalz-Saar gelding, was humanely euthanized on November 4, 2020 at the age of 15 due to an acute case of laminitis. His team at New Bolton Center were valiant in their efforts to save him but his case became too severe.
"I am completely devastated to share that my beloved Louis M had to be euthanized following a critical case of laminitis," Gartenberg shared in a statement on social media. "Louis was my best friend, a brilliant professor, and my most generous teacher. Losing him has left my heart completely shattered, but I will always be grateful to have known him, loved him, and had the incredible opportunity to have had him as my partner. His career and journey involved many special people, and I am very thankful to each of them. He was truly the King of Horses."
Louis M was bred by Franz-Josef Münker in Germany and born in 2005. He first competed on the international stage with Pia Münker in 2011, earning two wins and three additional top-five finishes in that first year at the one-star (now two-star) level. In 2012, Louis M moved up to the two-star (now three-star) level, adding three more wins to his record including a win in the European Young Rider Championships at Malmö in Sweden. Louis M and Pia competed in the CICO3* (now CCIO4*-S) Nations Cup at Waregem in 2013, their first attempt at the level, placing 22nd.
Louis M and Pia continued to earn top placings at the two- and three-star level in 2014 and 2015, including a win in the CIC3* (now CCI4*- S) at Breda in the Netherlands and fourth place at the CIC3* at Marbach in Germany.
In 2016, Louis M was sold to Cornelia Dorr and imported to the United States. Dorr and Louis M won their first competition together, the Junior/Young Rider Open Preliminary at GMHA. They picked up three more wins in 2016, including in the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at the Virginia Horse Trials.
Louis M and Dorr were individual silver medalists at the 2017 North American Youth Championships CCIOY2* (now CCIOY3*-S) at Rebecca Farm after a successful spring season that included a win in the CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event.
Gartenberg acquired Louis M at the end of the 2018 season, and the two won their first event at the Training level at Morven Park that October. In the spring, they were second at Stable View in the Preliminary and third in the Intermediate at Pine Top. Their first international event together was at Fair Hill in April of 2019, where they were eighth in the CCI2*-S.
After successful finishes in the CCI3*-S at Jersey Fresh, Bromont, and Maryland over the summer, Louis M and Gartenberg competed in the Under 25 CCI3*-S division at Bromont in August, winning the division. That fall, they led the dressage in the CCI3*-L at Fair Hill International before finishing in the top 25.
This past spring, Gartenberg completed her first Advanced level horse trials with Louis M, placing eighth at Pine Top, before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the spring season.
Louis M was recognized as a dressage powerhouse in the eventing world, frequently sitting at the top of the leaderboard after the first phase of competition. From 2014 to 2016, Louis M put in 20 consecutive international sub-40 dressage scores, a feat that Equiratings pointed out had not been achieved by any other horse. His personal best score of 20.6, achieved in the CIC2* at Kreuth in 2015, is the lowest recorded international dressage score since 2010 (note that this score was achieved before the removal of the multiplier that took place in 2018).
Matt Brown, Gartenberg’s trainer, shared the following on his social media: “Louis M. A God among horses. A lover of goldfish, bananas, a good necking session, and his job. An overachiever, and always the smartest one in the room. Have you ever met a horse that never had a bad day? I hadn’t, until I met Louis. He showed up for work every day. He never had to be asked anything twice. He lived to do the right thing, and he loved teaching his girls how to be good.”
“When you asked Alexa how Louis was after a cross-country round, she would get a dreamy look in her eye and say, ‘He’s Louis, he’s perfect.’ And that was never an exaggeration. He was larger than life. He demanded attention with his presence alone. He was Louis, and he was perfect. Thank you for taking care of your girls, Louis. You will be deeply missed.”
“Thank you, Louis M, for all that you gave me, and all that you gave to the sport of eventing,” Gartenberg said. “You will never be forgotten and will always be missed.”
The USEA would like to extend our deepest condolences to Gartenberg and all Louis M’s connections and fans.
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