May 24, 2007 – Stratford, Ontario
|Rio Grande, successful show jumping horse and influential sire, passed away on May 21, 2007.
Photo by Michelle C. Dunn
International show jumping competitor and renowned
sire, Rio Grande, passed away at the age of 21.
Arguably the most influential sport horse sire standing in Canada, Rio Grande died suddenly on May 21 after suffering a heart attack. Owned by Augustin Walch of W. Charlot Farms, Rio Grande was a 1986 bay Hannoverian stallion by Raphael x Windhuk.
Purchased by Augustin Walch as a three-year-old at the Verden auction in Germany, Rio Grande won the Stallion Performance Test in 1991 before going on to enjoy an international show jumping career. Partnered with Eric Lamaze, Rio Grande competed at the 1996 World Cup Final in Geneva and qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Rio Grande was also a member of winning Nations' Cup teams at the National Horse Show in New York City and the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in 1995.
Following his retirement from competition in 2001, Rio Grande quickly cemented his reputation as a prolific sire of show jumping, hunter, dressage, and eventing sport horses. For three consecutive years, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, W. Charlot Farms was named the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Hunter Breeder of the Year, due in large part to the points accumulated by Rio Grande offspring. Among his most successful hunter progeny are Rio Renoir, Eye Remember Rio, Rio Bravo, Rio Bronco, Due North, and Rave.
In addition, Rio Grande offspring are currently competing at the Grand Prix level in show jumping. Rio's Rhapsody has enjoyed success under Erynn Ballard while Catwalk contested the 2007 Pan American Games Selection Trials with Darren Dlin.
"Rio Grande has played such an influential role in our breeding program and, more importantly, he has been a member of our family for the past 18 years," said Walch. "We owe him so much, and he will always have a special place in our hearts."
Rio Grande's great legacy will live on in his offspring.