Britain’s star para-dressage horse Gentleman dies at 20

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Lee Pearson and Gentleman.
Lee Pearson and Gentleman. Gentleman has died at the age of 20. (Lee Pearson Facebook page)

The horse who took Sir Lee Pearson to many major championships and two Paralympic Games has died suddenly at the age of 20.

Gentleman, a German-bred gelding by Gullit and from Wonne, died on June 20.

Pearson had imported Gentleman as a six-year-old and competed at European and World Championships, and the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“I went to Germany to look for a horse to run parallel to Blue Circle Boy. He [Gentleman] had such a supple, loose trot and a huge canter — he gave me the most fantastic feeling. After spending more than I expected to, I then brought him home,” Pearson told British Dressage.

“He was big, very sensitive and could also be very opinionated,” Pearson said. “But because I have to get into the horse’s head rather than using strength, he responded well to my style of riding.”

They won three gold medals at Beijing in 2008, and were part of the gold medal-winning British team at London in 2012. They also won gold in the Grade Ib team test, individual silver and freestyle bronze.

“I will be forever grateful for the successes that we gained together,” Pearson said.

“He had an awful sense of humour. At a competition, he would give the feeling that he could be naughty at any moment, when in fact he loved competing on the big stage and he never ever let me down.”

Lee Pearson and Gentleman gave Great Britain a good result in their first team outing.
Lee Pearson and Gentleman gave Great Britain a good result in their first team outing at London 2012. © FEI/Liz Gregg

Pearson said Gentleman “let everybody know around if he didn’t like something or even somebody”.

Gentleman had spent the past five years with Lorna Harvey, whom Pearson said had given him “the best of homes”.

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