It’s as if the story had already been written.
In almost identical fashion to the final outing of Rolf-Göran Bengtsson’s Casall ASK in the €300,000 Longines Grand Prix of Hamburg CSI5* last May, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z would also leave a lasting imprint on the sport of show jumping in the twilight of their partnership.
The last combination to compete, Ahlmann and the 18-year-old KWPN stallion (Galoubet A X Polydor) jumped as well over two rounds as they’ve done countless times throughout their nine years together, winning the Longines FEI World Cup Grand Prix of Leipzig CSI5*-W on Sunday, January 21, 2018.
Once the reins passed from Ahlmann’s wife Judy-Ann Melchior in September 2009 to Ahlmann himself, the pair have amassed a series of accomplishments, including four FEI World Cup Jumping Final appearances; 1st place at the 2012 IJRC Top Ten Final in Geneva, Switzerland; the 2016 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final title; and 9th place individually and the team bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
On both his announcement of Taloubet Z’s retirement (via his official Facebook page) and after their electric win in Leipzig, Ahlmann expressed his joy in the fact that a horse of Taloubet Z’s personality and talent had earned one final triumph and a memorable send off.
“To have a good result and finish with a proper round like that under pressure, it makes me so happy,” Ahlmann said. “It’s the greatest day of my life for sure—not for the points or the money, it’s much more than that. It’s because this great horse who still has all this power, even at this age, is ending his career in a great way, with a great win!”
Casall ASK and now Taloubet Z—one might say a trend is underway, with two celebrated mounts winning big during their final curtain call. It is a credit to the training and management of these top-level horses that they are able to go toe-to-toe with the likes of younger talents right up to their very last outing in the ring.
Already deemed as one of the finest athletes in modern show jumping, Taloubet Z has ended his career true to form: as a champion.
All photos ©Thomas Reiner