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Don VHP Z retired from the sport

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Harrie Smolders and Don VHP Z during Saturday's retirement ceremony in Valkenswaard. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

After a hugely successful career, the now 16-year-old stallion Don VHP Z (Diamant de Semilly x Voltaire) was retired from the sport on Saturday during the GC Valkenswaard. 

Don VHP Z jumped into the international spotlight in 2012, with Great Britain's Louise Simpson in the saddle. Simpson brough the stallion up through the youngster classes to five-star Grand Prix level, finishing fourth in the CSIO5* King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead that year. Don VHP Z was then sold to Copernicus Stables and Saer Coulter took over the ride.

Over the last seven years, Don VHP has been a faithful partner for Harrie Smolders. In 2017, the two won the individual silver medal at the European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden and that same year they were on the winning Dutch team at the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. They also jumped at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA in 2018. 

In 2016, Smolders and Don VHP Z won the CSI5* LGCT Grand Prix in Rome and in 2018 the CSI5* LGCT Grand Prix in Hamburg. Last year, they won the CSI3* Grand Prix in Knokke. The pair has CSI5* Grand Prix podium finishes from Brussels, Doha, Hamburg, Leipzig, Los Angeles, Mechelen, Mexico, Miami, Paris, Rome and Vienna to look back at – as well as having jumped several double clear rounds in Nations Cups for the Dutch team. In 2017,  Don VHP Z was crowned Horse of the Year in Belgium. 

At World of Showjumping, we wish Don a very happy retirement! 

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