German Grand Prix rider Marion Op de Hipt (née Engelen) has decided to retire her number one Grand Prix horse Diego.
The Oldenburg gelding by Don Larino x Angelino x Domlöwe has not been competed internationally for the past three years. His last national show was a local show in Nettetal, Germany, in August 2018.
Op de Hipt discovered Diego, who is bred by Meike Freels, as a 3-year old at the 2003 Oldenburg Elite Auction in Vechta.
The horse was first competed as a 4-year old under Renate Lackas in 2004 and as of 2005 Marion took over the ride. He was introduced to small tour level as a 7-year old and made the jump to Grand Prix level as an 8-year old in 2008. They went on to win the Piaff Forderpreis (German Under 25 Championships) in 2008 as well as in 2010. They were second in 2009.
The combination made its international show debut as a senior combination at the 2010 CDI Strassen in Luxembourg and for six years in a row showed at a small number of CDI events, such as Donaueschingen, Bremen, Verden, Lingen, Perm, Aachen, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Only twice did they cross borders and go abroad: to Roosendaal (NED) and Doha (QAT). Their last CDI was in Perl in September 2015.
Diego turns 19 in 2019 and Op de Hipt has now decided to retire him from competition at his "high point in sport and health". During their career the pair was coached by mom Maria Engelen, as well as by Isabell Werth and Ton de Ridder.
Marion wrote a heart felt letter to her horse, as posted on Reiter-Revue, and praised her loyal partner. "Your incredible character continued to surprise me. You learnt incredibly quickly, but were always sensitive. Still you were always there for me and gave me trust. Simply incredible. (...) You are not only the horse of a lifetime, but also a unique friend."
Photo © Astrid Appels
Eurodressage Photo Database: Diego
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