Don Auriello Passed Away

Tue, 04/02/2024 - 15:42
Don Auriello at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon :: Photo © Astrid Appeks

Don Auriello, Tinne Vilhelmson's most successful Grand Prix horse in her career (so far), has passed away. He was 22 years old.

Don Auriello was by Don Davidoff out of Wey O Mey (by White Star x Mont du Cantal). He was bred Joachim Poppe

Birgit Wellhausen-Henschke

He was originally owned by Klaus Hermann Ehlen and competed as a youngster by Birgit Wellhausen-Henschke.

The pair debuted in 2007 when the gelding was five. They were 5th in the consolation finals at the 2007 World Young Horse Championships in Verden and one month later placed 15th in the finals at the 2007 Bundeschampionate in Warendorf.  At the 2008 Bundeschampionate they were 25th in the preliminary round and did not compete in the consolation finals.

With Henschke at the 2007 WCYH
Henschke trained Don Auriello up to Grand Prix level and competed him in the 2010 German Medien Cup qualifiers (Louisdor Cup for Developing GP horses), but did not make it to the Final.

Tinne Vilhelmson

 in the autumn of 2010 Swedish Antonia Ax:son Johnson acquired Don Auriello as an extra iron in the fire for Tinne Vilhelmson to ride alongside Favourit and Divertimento. He became her career making Grand Prix horse. 

Tinne and Don Auriello won the 2011 Swedish Grand Prix Championships and made their international Grand Prix debut in February 2012 in West Palm Beach. The pair became Sweden's team anchor from 2012 till 2016. In 2012 they set a Swedish record in Grand Prix and for a period they held Swedish records in Grand Prix and Grand Prix Kur.

Tinne and "Anton" competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London (11th) and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio (8th);  the World Cup Finals in 2012 (9th), 2013 (4th), 2014 (4th), 2016 (2nd) and 2019 (9th); the European Championships in 2013 (8th) and 2015 (6th); and the World Equestrian Games in 2014 (7th) and 2018 (21st).

At the 2014 World Equestrian Games
The pair famously performed to Cees Slings' freestyles "Who's Anton" and "Good Vibrations"

Swan Song

Don Auriello struggled with injury for a long time after the Rio Olympics but returned to fitness in 2018 and went to the WEG in Tryon, where he was 21st in the Grand Prix Special.

in 2019 he competed in a few CDI-W's in Wellington, Florida and finished his show career at the 2019 World Cup Finals in Gothenburg on home turf last April. They were 9th in the Kur to Music.  It was his last show.

The pair retired from competition sport in a special ceremony held in Stockholm on 1 December 2019. Slings composed a special musical farewell tribute.

Sad Goodbye

Today, it was announced that Don Auriello has passed away.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio
"A few days ago we had to say goodbye to our beloved Don Auriello. An accident in the pasture meant that Anton, as we all called him, had to be put to sleep," Lovsta Stuteri communicated. 

Tinne Vilhelmson stated, "I loved Anton from the very first moment. To ride and get to know a horse like him was a dream come true. He was a completely unique individual, a horse with a big heart, fantastic temperament and who always did his best. I am happy and proud of everything we have experienced together. I also want to give a big thank you to everyone who has been along the way, but I would like to mention a few extra. Antonia, who made everything possible and who is always supportive. Thank you Lussan (Louise Nathhorst), who did not miss a single competition. Thanks to his grooms Josefin Schrewelius, Ilona Eisman and Sara Lord. Sara also ensured that he had a great life with her in recent years."

Photos © Astrid Appels

Related Links
Eurodressage Photo Database: Don Auriello
Don Auriello to be Retired from Competition Sport at 2019 CDI Stockholm
Tinne Vilhelmson Picks Don Auriello for Swedish WEG Team
Don Auriello on the Road to Recovery, to Return in Spring
Tinne Vilhelmson's Don Auriello Out of 2017 European Championship Contention
Kristoffersson, Kittel, Haward, Etzner, Dan Brown and Don Auriello Honoured at 2015 Swedish Riders Gala
Vilhelmson-Silfven Premiers New Freestyle for Don Auriello at 2012 World Cup Finals
Tinne Vilhelmson Gets Gutsy with New Broadway Freestyle
Tinne Vilhelmson Wins 2011 Swedish Grand Prix Championships