Her Highness O Sold by USA’s Caroline Roffman to Denmark for Reported $2-Plus Million
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 21, 2015–Her Highness O, the 12-year-old mare that Caroline Roffman rode to final contention for America’s World Games team and a prime prospect for the 2016 Olympics, has been sold to the Danish family of Signe and Thomas Kirk Kristiansen for what is reported to be more than $2 million (€1,730,000).
The purchase price of the black Hanoverian mare to Signe and Thomas, great grandson of the founder of the global toy company LEGO, is believed to be the highest ever for an American-owned and trained dressage horse. Caroline would not confirm details of the price.
The sale is bittersweet,” the 26-year-old Caroline told dressage-news.com from her Lionshare Dressage training and sales operation in Wellington.
“This is one of the toughest moments of my life, to be saying goodbye to a horse I’ve had in my life for 5 1/2 years.
“She has given me the most incredible journey from broodmare to U.S. team Grand Prix horse, accomplishing what I’d never imagined in my wildest dreams–two trips to Europe, international recognition, performing at Aachen, the most prestigious horse show in the world, and even nearly a spot on the World Games team.
“I run a sales and training barn. She was not a horse I was advertising or interested in selling. When I was approached I wanted her to go a home where she would be appreciated and taken care of better than I could ever provide.
“She was a perfect match for Signe from her first ride. I hope she does even more for them than did for me and that Signe achieves goals I never did.”
Caroline said she will stay a part of Her Highness’s life as she will take up the offer of Signe and Thomas to visit whenever she wants
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” she said, “but Signe and Thomas are among only a few people i could imagine selling her to. The journey with Her Highness has been a fairy tale with a fairy tale conclusion for me–not what I envisaged but perfect.
Caroline and Her Highness (Hohenstein x Weltmeyer) was among the most successful combinations in America but the sale means the horse will not be a prospect for the United States team for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Signe and Thomas own and operate Kirk Arabians, a stud farm in Funen in central Denmark.
Beside an interest in breeding, Signe is a dressage rider.
Thomas grew up with Thoroughbreds and was a show jumper at national and international level. He is also a member of the Board of the Danish Society of Purebred Arabian Horses.
With his two sisters, he is a minority shareholder and board member of LEGO Holding A/S.
Thomas’s uncle, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, focuses on the family’s ownership of LEGO Group and is well known as the founder of Blue Hors, one of Europe’s largest dressage breeding and sales operations.
Caroline was successful on several horses at the North American Young Rider Championships from 2006 through 2009. In 2010, she was named the 2010 International Equestrian Federation (FEI) “Rising Star” when she was 22 years old.
She was given the ride on Her Highness O after the horse was out of competition from 2007 to 2012 having babies and Caroline rode the mare to the U.S. Developing Horse title later the same year. In 2013, the pair began international small tour and Caroline took Her Highness with her to Europe when the rider became the first American to compete in the Under-25 division with Sagacious HF at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany.
Caroline and Her Highness began their international Grand Prix career a year ago and earned a place on the U.S. long listed squad to go to Europe six months later, the youngest rider in the group, and looking to be on the World Equestrian Games team.
Although the pair ranked fourth based on results of the shows designated as team qualifiers, the duo was removed from consideration for what the federation explained: “It was felt that with just six months of competing at the Grand Prix level it was too soon to ask the talented combination of Caroline Roffman and her 11-year-old Hanoverian mare, Her Highness O, to contend with the World Championship atmosphere of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.”
The pair withdrew from the Adequan Global Dressage Festival opening World Cup event earlier this month that was to have been the first competition since returning from Europe last August.