At Age 20 Regardez Moi Ridden by Aussie Heath Ryan In Sydney CDI3* Oldest Active Big Tour Horse in World

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Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi. File photo. © Franz Venhaus
Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi. File photo. © Franz Venhaus

April 10, 2016

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

At 20 years of age, Regardez Moi ridden by Heath Ryan was the oldest active Big Tour competition horse in the world when placing third in the Sydney CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle this weekend.

The Grand Prix and the Freestyle brought to 98 the number of CDI starts–including 29 victories–since Regardez Moi born April 18, 1996 by Rubinstein out of a Consul mare was ridden by Heath in their first CDI Grand Prix in March, 2007.

Although the black stallion “in a way should be retired,” the Oldenburg horse imported from Germany as a two-year-old loves the atmosphere of competitions, said Heath, based 100 miles/160km north of Sydney and who competes in both dressage and eventing international events.

Except for one journey to the West Coast of the United States to compete in the World Cup Final in Las Vegas and a CDI3* at Del Mar in Southern California in 2009, Regardez Moi’s competition career has been in Australia. The pair have won the national Grand Prix Championship three times.

In the CDI3* this weekend, two offspring were competing against their father, including Utopian Cardinal ridden by Heath. Halfway around the world is another offspring, Rosa Cha W. The 11-year-old mare was acquired by former Australian now U.S. team eventing rider Boyd Martin and his wife, Silva. She competed the horse through Small Tour as a 2015 Pan American Games prospect. Injuries suffered in a riding accident on another horse at their Pennsylvania equestrian center in 2014 and then the birth of their first child a year later delayed moving Rosa Cha up to Grand Prix.

Regardez Moi is one of 11 dressage horses 21 or 20 years old among the total of 863 horses on the FEI, International Equestrian Federation, world rankings. But he is the only one registered so far this year to compete, according to a review of competition records by dressage-news.com.

Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2009. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2009. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The horse, the 57-year-old Heath said, “owes me nothing.”

“He has made the most amazing contribution to my career, indeed, life,” he said. “Through his offspring, two of which were competing against him in the Grand Prix classes this weekend, Regardez Moi has also made an enormous contribution to the sport.

“To ride, he is an old man. I warm him up for not much longer than 15 minutes and then in we go. As we circle the arena Regardez Moi looks at the audience and the arena and grows an extra couple of hands, starts to swing through the back and all of a sudden finds the spring in his step that years ago was his territory. He just koves the performance.

“Today Regardez Moi is still 100 per cent sound; however, he will run out of breath if I am not careful. By the end of a Grand Prix test these days he is puffing like an old man.

“Regardez Moi is well and truly past his prime and in a way should be retired, but he loves going to the big shows and loves everyone coming to see him and he loves the performance.

“I feel I owe him and if I am really careful the old man can still make the rest of the competitors’ sweat.

“I am sure he will tell me when he has had enough.”

Meantime, he said, Regardez Moi still works in the indoor arena every day.