Jeudi 12 Avril 2018;Accorhotels Arena (paris);LONGINES FEI World Cup Jumping - Final I;SCOOPDYGA - COSTABADIE Pierre - Andrew KOCHER (USA) riding NAVALO DE POHETON during the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final at AccorHotels Arena on April 12, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Costabadie/Icon Sport)
For most of us equestrians, our horses are considered to be some of our very best friends. They’re our support systems through our ups and downs, our close companions at the barn, and our partners in the show ring. So of course, the loss of an especially outstanding horse will always be felt in waves by riders across the equestrian world.
The international equestrian community suffered a monumental loss on Sunday, June 24, when USA team rider Andy Kocher’s renowned horse Navalo De Poheton was forced to be put down after sustaining a severe leg injury between fences during his jumping round at the Al Shira’aa Derby in Hickstead, England. A statement released from the organizers of the Derby the day of the competition declared that Navalo De Poheton “was fatally injured while competing in the Hickstead Derby” and that “the 17-year-old gelding broke a leg on the flat, and despite receiving immediate veterinary attention in the ring he was not able to be saved.” Sadly, Andy had planned for this round to be his horse’s last before granting him retirement from his impressive show jumping career.
Navalo De Poheton, otherwise known as the “eighteen-thousand dollar champion,” enjoyed a long and successful career in show jumping with Kocher until his fateful round on Sunday. Before the Al Shira’aa Derby, the Selle Français and his rider competed in a long list of acclaimed competitions, including the 2017 Ariat Grand Prix and the FEI World Cup Finals this past April.
Kocher and Navalo De Poheton made a formidable team in the show ring and brought international acclaim, and Kocher’s loss is a loss to the world of equestrians and show jumping at large.
The “eighteen-thousand dollar champion”, as lovingly dubbed by Andy, may have a place in all of our hearts, but it was the horse’s impact on Andy’s own life that made the horse particularly dear to him. On his Instagram page this month, Kocher recounted how Navalo De Poheton’s remarkable prowess “took a normal guy from the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania to the World Cup Finals and all over the world.”