According to his former groom Diane Puopolo, away from competition Rothchild is a horse with a big heart and appetite to match. It’s not just mints that motivate this boy.
Diane has said in the past: “We go to Dunkin’ Donuts every morning, and he always gets a donut every morning, so he does expect that and he looks forward to that. He prefers glazed, but he also likes blueberry glazed, too.”
Some might say Rothchild, or Bongo as he is known in the stable, had Diane well trained.
She certainly discovered it’s easier to work with him, rather try and tell him how it is. Diane said: “He’s a horse that, you kind of have to know his quirks and work with them, not against them.
“If he doesn’t want to do something, you kind of have to work with him to guide him toward what you want, but you can’t make him do anything, whether it’s in the ring or in the barn.”
Rothchild retired during a special ceremony at the American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm in New York.
His career was celebrated in a manner fitting to what the horse had given to the sport. Ever since 2007, from the age of six, the Belgium sports horse had been ridden by McLain.
Owned by Sagamore Farms, the partnership with McLain proved to be a match which endured throughout the years and across the globe.
Rothchild has triumphed at many elite events world-wide. He has pinned his ears back and conquered Aachen, Antwerp, Bridgehampton, Devon, Hickstead, Rome, Spruce Meadows, Toronto, Valkenswaard and Wellington.
In 2014 at the FEI World Equestrian Games in France the pair won team bronze, finishing fifth individually. In 2015 at the Pan Am games in Toronto the pair took individual gold and team bronze. At Hickstead in the UK in 2015, they won the FEI Jumping Nations Cup.
Speaking about his retirement McLain said: “I think Rothchild has taught me a lot of lessons. He’s taught me about meeting a horse in the middle. He’s taught me about believing in a horse and seeing the best in him.
“I really like this horse, aside from what he does in the ring. If he were a person, I’d go have a beer with him.”
In the ring he was a horse full of expression; he jumped efficiently, especially against the clock, but he was never dull to watch.
The ears indicated he was just as competitive as his rider. Rothchild was a horse who showed the world, he wasn’t angry at his job, he simply loved his job and he knew, he was good at it.
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Words by Katie Roebuck
Images by Ashley Neuhof / Amy K. Dragoo / Alden Corrigan