Jacqueline Brooks’ D Niro Reunited With Breeder at World Cup Final
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By KENNETH J. BRADICK
GOTHENBURG, Sweden, April 25–When Canada’s Jacqueline Brooks brought D Niro to the World Cup Final, she had no idea how the striking gray gelding got to have a half-finger deep hole in his chest until a remarkable reunion Thursday with the breeder of the Swedish Warmblood.
Until just a couple of days ago when Jaqueline was preparing her 2012 London Olympic partner for the competition, she had no idea that the breeder, Christina Almström, lived just 60 miles (100km) from the historic port city.
On Thursday, thanks to help from the organizers of the Final at the Scandinavium Arena, Christina had a tearful reunion with D Niro, now 14 years old.
“It’s really him,” she said as Jacqueline and her mother, Mary, looked on. “It’s really him.”
Jacqueline had ridden D Niro (D-Day x Alitalia x Napoleon 625) just a few hours earlier, the second to start in the Grand Prix, for a score of 67.356 per cent and 13th place that was good enough for the 45-year-old rider to qualify for the Freestyle on Saturday.
As the rider of a Swedish Warmblood, Jacquie was iinterviewed by a local Internet site about D Niro on whom she qualified during the winter circuit in Florida.
“Christina found me on Facebook,” she said. “She had sold him as a two-year-old and didn’t know what had happened to him.”
The horse had first gone to a Swedish rider who later sold him on to Sommerville Harris, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee and competes on the Florida winter circuit.
Mary and Jacqueline Brooks and Anne Welch bought D Niro as a 12-year-old to attempt to qualify for the rider’s second Olympics, in which which she succeeded.
The organizers of the competition arranged travel for Christina to come to Gothenburg and gave her tickets and an escort into the secure stabling area for the reunions.
And they heard the story of the scar on D Niro’s chest.
As a yearling he was attacked by a lynx, of the same family as the bocat.
Christina pulled out one of the lynx’s fangs that left the scar on his right shoulder.
She nursed him back to health.
Now, Jacqueline said, she understands why D Niro is cautious about his surroundings until he realizes there is no danger.
“I love the horse,” she said. “He’s gotten into the game so late.
“This is by far the biggest arena he’s been in. He checks out everything. About a third the way through the test he took a deep breat and everything was fine with him.”