Anky van Grunsven's Salinero Celebrated in Retirement Ceremony at Den Bosch

Sat, 03/16/2013 - 20:44
Dutch Dressage News

Emotions ran high in the Brabanthallen in 's Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, on Saturday afternoon 16 March 2013 when the official retirement ceremony for Anky van Grunsven’s 19-year old Hannoverian gelding Salinero (by Salieri x Lungau) took place. 

The Brabanthallen in 's Hertogenbosch featured two lavish retirement ceremonies. The first took place on Thursday 14 March with a quadrille of Anky's Olympic team mates as well as with a pas-de deux featuring Anky's two children Ava Eden and Yannick Janssen on ponies, followed by pianist Wibi Soerjado accompanying Anky in her Dance of Devotion Kur. On Saturday 16 March Soerjadi played the freestyle again live on his piano in front of a sell-out crowd. Afterwards the crowds said good-bye to Salinero waving white handkerchiefs, copying the traditional Aachen style "Abschied der Nationen".

The Dutch rider enjoyed enormous success with this horse whose career might well have been overshadowed by the memory of his revered predecessor, Bonfire who, together with van Grunsven, first brought Freestyle Dressage to centre stage.  Salinero however followed faithfully in those very famous hoofprints to become a star in his own right, taking Olympic individual gold in Athens in 2004 with Slings & Kerkhof's freestyle L'Esprit Chanson and again at the equestrian events of the Beijing Olympic Games in Hong Kong with Soerjadi's Dance of Devotion four years later.  

Salinero helped van Grunsven to become the most prolific winner of the World Cup Dressage title - she won it nine times over a 13-year period between 1995 and 2008.

Salinero's started his dressage career in Germany under Holger Schulze, who competed the youngster at the 1999 Bundeschampionate. Anky then discovered him at her own yard after student Ashley Holzer had bought the horse and had brought him to Erp, The Netherlands, for training there. Van Grunsven acquired Salinero from Holzer and the new pair first came to prominence in 2003 with victory in the Dutch National Championship and was part of the Dutch bronze medal winning team at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park last summer which brought his spectacular career to a fitting conclusion.

Photos © Dirk Caremans - More exclusive photos of Salinero's retirement ceremony on Dirk's website soon

Related Links
Van Grunsven Decided on Salinero for 2012 Dutch Olympic Selection Process
Recovery of Salinero's Injury Takes Longer than Expected
No Las Vegas Wild Card for Salinero, Western European Qualificants Known
Anky van Grunsven Claims Third Consecutive Olympic Champion's Title
Riders React to their 2008 Olympic Grand Prix Ride
Anky van Grunsven and Salinero Win 2005 Las Vegas World Cup Finals
Salinero, Happiest Horse
Spirit of Song Accompanies Salinero to Victory at 2003 CDI-W Mechelen
Scores: 1999 Bundeschampionate