Andrew Welles & Boo Van Het Kastanjehof at the 2016 Hampton Classics. ph: Erin Gilmore for NF
After a week of competition at the Tyron International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA’s Andrew Welles is settling in at his home base in Wellington, Florida.
One thing is evident, and it’s the absence of his partner of eight years, the 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Boo Van Het Kastanjehof (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Pachat II). On Saturday, October 21, 2017, Welles transitioned “Boo” into a new chapter of life, beginning with a retirement ceremony fit for the horse who “absolutely loved the sport.”
“I’ve never been around a horse who has a heart like hers. For what her natural ability was, she ended up jumping bigger classes than you would’ve thought possible on paper, truly because of her heart and love for the sport,” said Welles. “She loved an atmosphere with a crowd under the lights, and the more people in the audience, the better she jumped. She loved to go in the ring and have the crowd cheer for her, and she really understood the sport and loved everything about it.”
Welles purchased Boo from good friend Jack Hardin Towell — who produced her between the age of seven and nine— in 2010. Over the span of their partnership, they’ve trekked across the North American continent, picking up podium finishes at multiple FEI rated events. They closed out their career together on August 10, 2017 at the Great Lakes Festival in Michigan, USA.
“For the last seven years she’s kept me relevant at the top of the sport and I really attribute all of my success to her. I can honestly say that any success I’ll have in the future is because of the foundation she laid for me for during these last seven years,” commented Welles.
While he initially went back and forth on what exactly Boo would do once retired, Welles settled on Spy Coast Farm, one of America’s leading breeding and developmental facilities for sport horses.
“She’s going to be 17 this year and for me to be able to retire her sound and healthy meant a lot after everything she’s done for me, especially with her jumping some of our biggest classes towards the end,” said Welles. “I’m looking forward to the possibility of her continuing to add to my career with some babies in the future.”