14 years of jumping together, Cristallo and Richard SpoonerCredit : Global Champions Tour
Wednesday 21 February - 21h04 | Lulu Kyriacou
Cristallo, one of the outstanding American horses of the last ten years, has been retired by his rider Richard Spooner. The announcement was made by Spooner on social media this week. We look back at one of the greats.
At the 2010 World Cup Final where he was 7thCredit : Scoopdyga
The 20-year-old Holsteiner by Carentino finished his career still able to beat the best. In the autumn of 2017, he and Spooner went to Spruce Meadows in Canada where the pair pulled off a remarkable third win in the fearsome Spruce Derby and picked up a speed class as well.Cristallo, who is owned by the Showjumping International Syndicate, has been with Spooner for nearly 15 years and will retire with the Californian rider. On his Facebook page, Spooner said, "We have decided to retire Cristallo. At 20 yrs old he is still the wildest horse I have. He is strong and sound. He can now spend his days with 30 year old Robinson (Spooner's first top class horse-Ed) and the goat. I sure will miss showing him. What an amazing animal." Spooner first saw the horse when he was five and loved him at once so got a syndicate together to purchase the German-bred bay. They have been jumping together ever since, making one of the most enduring partnerships in showjumping. They were a well-matched pair; a horse who never seemed to understand the meaning of taking it steady and the rider for whom the title "the Master of Faster" was coined.
Down the Derby Bank at Spruce on the way to a win in 2017Credit : Spruce Meadows
Cristallo could jump clear rounds anywhere. From the huge open spaces at Spruce Meadows or Hamburg to indoors at Geneve or on an outdoor surface in Monaco. That venue, home to one of the original rounds of the Global Champions Tour, was the location of one his most spectacular wins. Already a double winner of the Grand Prix in 2008 and 2009, he returned to the venue to take the title for a third time (still a unique feat) in 2013 as a 15 year old, jumping three clear rounds over the Port Hercule track to secure the win.Not the easiest of horses to ride, sometimes his own desire to go as quick as possible in unruly fashion is possibly what cost the pair championship team honours although they made several Nations Cup appearances including double clear winning ones at Spruce (twice) and St Gallen. in one of the video's below you can see Cristallo's high head carriage and how Spooner is forced to ride him without a martingale. Notoriously sensitive in the mouth, this coupled with his constant desire to go forward made control an issue. According to Kaylen Spooner, jumping got in the way of Cristallo's leisure activities such as hacking round the farm with Kaylen, and eating. "He is very high energy and so hard to keep weight on so we pretty much let him eat all day," she said in 2010. The horse also loved travelling. "If he had a haynet and water, he wouldn't mind travelling all day, every day and he likes a plane ride as well," she continued. None of this has stopped the horse from performing. In addition to the classes already mentioned, there have been five World Cup Final appearances (7th at Geneve in 2010 his best result) and numerous Grand Prix wins. He was rated as the world's top horse during 2009. Truuly one of American show jumping's great characters, Cristallo will be missed on both sides of the Atlantic.
Wednesday 21 February - 17h38
Saturday 24 February - 05h17
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