Flexible with Rich Fellers on board at the World Cup Final last year.
IRISH Sport Horse Flexible has today (Saturday) won the prestigious United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) International Horse of the Year award for 2012.
Flexible was bred in Ireland by Edward and Catherine Doyle.
Partnered by the 53 year-old American rider Rich Fellers, Flexible is one of the oldest horses competing at the top level of international show jumping, and turned 17 in January of this year.
Now owned by US couple Harry and Mollie Chapman, Flexible had a remarkable year in 2012, and among other major victories won the show jumping World Cup for America after a 25 year drought and also finished eighth individually in the London Olympics.
A son of the famous Irish Sport Horse stallion Cruising, who was runner-up in the World Cup in 1999 with Irish rider Trevor Coyle, Flexible is an approved stallion in the Irish Sport Horse studbook.
Edward Doyle was honoured with the award for Breeder of the Top International Show Jumper by Horse Sport Ireland, Ireland’s governing body, in November last year.
The United States Equestrian Federation’s nomination of Flexible as the International Horse of the Year said:
“Flexible (Cruising x Flex)
1996 Irish Sport Horse Stallion
Owners: Harry and Mollie Chapman
“Flexible has done the unthinkable time after time in his storied career. The stallion with a unique jumping style has twice come back from career-threatening injuries and captured top standings at prestigious competitions. In 2012, with rider Rich Fellers, Flexible ended the U.S.’s 25-year winless drought at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Jumping Finals by out-running the eventual Olympic champions in a jump-off for the ages.
“Flexible kept up his winning ways in the 2012 U.S. Show Jumping Observation Events where he claimed victory four times.
“He won twice in Del Mar (the $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix and the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar) and then again six weeks later at Spruce Meadows. Fellers and Flexible jumped four clear rounds in two classes, including two jump-offs in Calgary to win the $35,000 Husky Energy Cup and the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix.
“They then earned their ticket to represent the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where they finished in the top ten and were the highest placing American pair.”