The 28-year-old Selle Francais stallion Baloubet du Rouet (Galoubet A x Starter) has passed away from natural causes. Ridden by Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, Baloubet du Rouet was one of the most dominant and pioneering athletes in show jumping throughout his career, and later, in retirement through his influence as a breeding stallion.
“He had a great career, a great retirement, and a beautiful life. He lived a full life,” said Pessoa, who with Baloubet won Olympic individual gold at Athens 2004. “It’s sad that he’s gone, but we all have to go at some point. The way of going like that, from natural causes, is nice.”
Throughout his career, the stallion was known for his age-defying athleticism and his larger than life personality, though his international dominance extended well beyond his reign as a competitor. As an influential and successful breeding stallion, he was titled as the leading sire of jumping horses by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses in 2012.
“Through the years, he stayed in incredible shape, working and exercising on a regular basis. He was a force of nature and [was] always a very healthy horse. It’s nice that he lived a really nice life, his entire life,” said Pessoa.
Born in 1989 on the farm of French breeder Louis Fardin, Baloubet first caught the eye of Portugal’s Nicole and Diogo Pereira Coutinho, who would later introduce their young chestnut prospect to fellow friend and show jumper Nelson Pessoa of Brazil.
Under the hands of Nelson in 1994, Baloubet was developed through the young horse circuit in France, winning the World Championships as a six-year-old and the French Championships in the seven-year-old division. In his transition to the international circuit, Nelson piloted the nine-year-old to a finalist position in the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome, Italy.
It was after the WEG that Baloubet was passed down to Nelson’s son, Rodrigo Pessoa, who solidified the stallion’s legacy with multiple titles and championship wins over the course of their partnership. Together, they acquired a Bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, as well as the previously mentioned indiviual gold in Athens, Greece. Most notably, they secured back to back wins in the Helsinki 1998, Gothenberg 1999, and Las Vegas 2000 FEI World Cup Jumping Finals. In doing so, Baloubet became, and remains to be, the only horse to win three consecutive World Cup Finals with the same rider.
In total, Baloubet participated in 263 international competitions, retiring with an impressive 65 winning titles to his name. He competed until the age of 17, and was retired to Portugal after his final competition in 2006.
In his final public appearance at the 2013 Longines Global Champions Tour of Cascais in Estroil, France, his sired stallion Chaman (Baloubet Du Rouet x I Love You), the then 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood ridden by Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, was honored as Baloubet’s most successful offspring.
We extend our sympathies to the Pessoa family and to Baloubet’s owners, Nicole and Diogo Pereira Coutinho.