Passing of top eventing horses Ballynoe Castle, 21, and Welton Envoy, 34

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM won the CIC 3* at Richland Park Horse Trials.
Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle at the 2015 Richland Park Horse Trials. © Leslie Mintz / USEA Photos

The eventing world has lost two of its leading lights in recent weeks, with the passing of Ballynoe Castle in the US and Welton Envoy in Britain.

Ballynoe Castle (2000-2021)

Ballynoe Castle died peacefully at the age of 21 at Buck Davidson’s farm in Ocala, Florida, Davidson said in a statement.

“Now he can watch over everyone on cross-country. He was a huge part of all of our lives for so many years and truly a horse of a lifetime,” Davidson said.

Bred by Sylvester Cullen in Wexford, Ireland, Ballynoe Castle RM (Ramiro B x Ballyvaldon Natalie, by Blue Laser), was been ridden by Davidson throughout his career from the Preliminary level onward. “Reggie” completed his first 3* competition in 2008 and has had top placings at numerous national and international competitions including Rolex Kentucky CCI4* (4th in 2013 and 3rd in 2014) and Burghley.

In 2015 he became the all-time highest-scoring eventing horse in the US, taking over from Winsome Adante.

At the age of eight, Ballynoe Castle was the alternate for the Olympics, and he did Burghley at the age of nine. The following year, at 10, he competed at the World Equestrian Games. He was officially retired in a ceremony at the 2017 Kentucky Three-Day-Event.


Welton Envoy (1987-2021)

Blyth Tait’s 2000 Kentucky Three-Day-Event winner Welton Envoy has died at the age of 34 at the Gloucestershire home of his breeders, Linda and the late Sam Barr, of Welton Stud.

By Welton Crackerjack and out of Minerva, a full sister to Ginny Leng’s Night Cap, “Eddie” started out in 1992 with Leslie Law, who rode him until 1994. Tait first competed on Welton Envoy at Milton Keynes in June of 1996, winning the open intermediate class. Their next affiliated outing was in March of 1998 when they placed second at Gatcombe at Advanced level, and after that notched up several top 10 placings at top-level British events. They also had a 1* win in France in 1998.

The combination was selected for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 but retired on the cross-country.

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