British based Italian eventer Vittoria Panizzon has lost her “best friend”, Rock Model, who died of a heart attack while out hacking at the weekend.
“Bug galloped straight to heaven after overtaking Pennyz and Woody as we cantered at the very top of the farm in the biggest field with the best view ever,” Panizzon said of his final minutes.
“I had the privilege of watching him for the last hour of his life as he pranced and showed off the whole way hacking with his fanciest trot and then pulled Alice’s arms out to the end loving his canter in the best threesome together.
“He had a heart attack and died in my arms.”
The 15.3hh Rock Model (Rock King x Little Model) was 19 and had been with Panizzon since he was a six-year-old. He finished third at Belton 2013 and second at Oasby in his last run last year. In his career he won twice at Belton.
“He has taken me round the world competing in Hong Kong, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Italy, France and GB. He was 16th and double clear at my first Olympics [Beijing 2008], he was 8th and bronze at the Europeans and should have won gold (my fault silver) at the YR Europeans,” Panizzon said.
“It was the most perfect way for him to go, he had a heart murmur for many years but absolutely loathed holidays and thrived on showing off to big crowds. He is the only horse I know that can throw a stick and jump anything, including electric fencing and wire, and do fast pirouettes!”
Rock Model was bred by Sarah Bullen and was owned by Panizzon and Lord Leigh.