The end of a great horse's competitive career can leave many a rider, groom, and fan misty-eyed and wondering where the time has gone. But one thing is for sure in the case of Scott Brash and Ursula XII: they made every moment of their six years together count.
Although Ursula got a relatively late start compared to the typical grand prix horse, she claimed some of the biggest titles out there and was the top-ranked horse in the world as early as 2013 - only a year into her time with Scott. She battled injury for a few years of her career but she and Scott impressed the world when they won the 2016 $3 Million CP International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows, which also happened to be her first grand prix victory at 15 years old. She also racked up second place in the 2017 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final; second place in the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup at Olympia; and won of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Mexico City in 2018 – to name a few.
Her final international appearance came at CHI Geneva, pinning the end of her career with a sixth-place performance in the Rolex Grand Prix.
What's next for Ursula? Fret not. Life for the mare will be golden at Scott's home yard as she begins a new adventure: motherhood. "I know that she would like a foal so the aim is to get her in foal this year," Scott explained in the Olympia live zone after the ceremony.
He also said she'll continue to stay fit and active at home even though her international career has ended. "I'm not going to stop riding her suddenly after the show - she's really fit," he said.
The world can look forward to seeing some offspring of the British-bred mare a few years down the line. Until then... thank you, Ursula.
All photos by Sophie Harris, SEH Photography.