The USEA is saddened to share the news that The Alchemyst (Espiritu x Carnivale Night), a Canadian Sport Horse gelding owned by Deborah Rosen, has passed away at the age of 22.
"Big Al said it was time to go," Rosen shared in a statement on her Facebook page. "He made my dreams come true and then went on to live his best days with Lauren Sherrill. He was all the things: fierce, irreverent, opinionated, intelligent, cuddly, notorious, and one-of-a-kind."
"Al" was bred by Sue Ocadeon in Canada and born in 1999. His eventing career in the United States began with Buck Davidson as a 5-year-old, completing several Preliminary level events before moving to Doug Payne's barn. Payne competed him for a season, completing his first FEI event in the fall of 2005 before being sold to Rosen.
Al and Rosen moved up to the Intermediate level in 2006, completing a long-format CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Galway Downs in the fall. In the spring of 2007, Al took home the blue ribbon from the CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) at Galway Downs and finished in second place in the CCI2* at Twin Rivers before stepping up to the Advanced level. That summer, Al and Rosen completed the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Rebecca Farm and then the CIC3* at Twin Rivers in the fall before making the trek to the East Coast to compete at Fair Hill International in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L).
More success followed for Al and Rosen at the Advanced/three-star level in 2008, with a fifth-place finish in the CIC3* at Galway Downs and second place in the CIC3* at Rebecca Farm. In 2009, Al made his first appearance at the Kentucky Three-Day Event, finishing in 25th place.
In the summer of 2009, Rosen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Determined to return to the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2010, she continued to train and compete in the spring of 2010 while simultaneously undergoing chemotherapy. She and Al finished in 36th place at Kentucky in 2010.
Al and Rosen returned to the Kentucky Three-Day Event twice more in 2011 and 2014, retiring on course both times. In 2012, Al went to James Atkinson for a time with the idea of being sold, and also competed with junior rider Jerica Coert for a time at the Preliminary/one-star level before returning to Rosen for another go at the top level of the sport. After Kentucky in 2014, Rosen made the decision to retire Al from the topmost level and look for a new partner.
Rosen sent Al to Jennie Brannigan on the East Coast to be sold, and it was there that Brannigan and fellow eventer Laine Askher hatched a plan to lease Al to Lauren Sherrill, Ashker's working student who was looking to gain experience at the Preliminary/one-star level.
Al and Sherrill began their partnership in 2015 at the Training level, moving up to Preliminary shortly thereafter and completing their first CCI* (now CCI2*-L) as a team in the fall. Sherrill and Al continued to compete together through the 2016 season at the Preliminary level before Al retired from competition at the age of 17.
"[Al] had a huge fan club, if only for his antics, but when he was good, he was exceptional," Rosen said. "Too many of you to name were on this journey with us but know that I remember and am grateful for each and every one of you."
The USEA sends our deepest condolences to Rosen, Sherrill, and all of The Alchemyst's connections and fans.
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