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Salinero, An Olympic Champion Horse

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We honor a legendary dressage rider.

Anky van Grunsven rode the magnificent horse Salinero to back-to-back Olympic gold medal victories before he passed away at the end of 2022. Olympic fans can buy Olympic Equestrian Dressage Tickets from our website.

The Hanoverian gelding, who won numerous awards, established numerous records, and for many years kept his Dutch partner at the top of the world, was the horse of the 2000s. They once held all of the major titles simultaneously in the middle of the 2000s!

Olympic Equestrian Dressage Tickets
With Van Grunsven, Salinero spent his lengthy retirement. She reported his passing at the age of 28 in early December, saying, “My heart is devastated. My hero, Salinero, left us behind in tears. Memories never disappear.

Here’s the story of a Dressage great

What history did Salinero have?

Horst Bunger was the breeder of Salinero, who was born in Germany in 1994. Salieri had produced him from Luna (by Lungau x Pik Bube II x Weingau). Salinero started his career over the jumps when he competed as a four-year-old with Kurt Maier. Salinero ...
... had several complete siblings that competed in Jumping to a high level.

But after qualifying for the German national championships a year later, he was noticed by dressage competitor and coach Holger Schulze, and he quickly made the switch to that sport permanently.

Salinero crossed the border into the Netherlands where she started working out with Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer under the direction of world-renowned coach Anky van Grunsven. Salinero and Holzer did not gel, but Van Grunsven, owner of the recently retired Olympic champion Bonfire, could sense that this enormous, powerful horse was unique. The horse became the property of Van Grunsven and Sjef Janssen. Olympic fans can buy Summer Games 2024 Tickets from our website.

Olympic Equestrian Dressage Tickets
Salinero and Van Grunsven entered their first competition together in 2002 when Salinero was eight years old, and they swiftly advanced to major tour events. In 2002 at Dusseldorf, they competed in their first FEI Dressage World CupTM together.

What were his greatest accomplishments?

Anky and Salinero won their first FEI Dressage World CupTM leg in Mechelen in 2003 and went on to win the Dutch Grand Prix.

They won in both Amsterdam and’s-Hertogenbosch in 2004, and soon after that, they were getting ready for the FEI Dressage World CupTM Final in Düsseldorf. Van Grunsven had won the championship five times with Bonfire, but not since 2000.

With a stunning victory in the German city, the team introduced themselves to the globe. They earned a high score and finished much ahead of second-placed Edward Gal & Lingh. The Olympics that year suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere became a possibility.

Anky recalls, “I didn’t plan on going to the 2004 Olympics, but I managed to qualify at the last second and we were selected.”

Tragically, Van Grunsven’s father Wim passed away in April 2004, which undoubtedly affected her training for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Could she duplicate her success from the gold medal she earned with Bonfire in 2000 with Salinero?

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They won Individual gold with a remarkable performance just a few months after their first-ever international team competition, proving that the answer was true yes. Ulla Salzgeber and Rusty, the 2003 European Champions, won the silver, and Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Beauvalais won the bronze.

Salinero displayed resistance in his first two piaffes, and as a result, the first round’s Grand Prix score was only about average. In the following round, the performance improved, and their exquisite Freestyle was sufficient to earn Anky her second gold medal.

The couple won three consecutive FEI Dressage World CupTM championships in 2005, 2006, and Amsterdam, with the last victory coming with a staggering 87.750% rating. Even though they gave a fantastic performance, a few weeks prior in’s-Hertogenbosch, they were given a world record score of 87.920!

They already won the European Championships in 2005, therefore they completed the set when they won gold with a Grand Prix score of 81.333 at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in the summer of 2006. They were the current Olympic, World, European, and World Cup winners by the end of 2006!

Since Anky was on maternity leave in 2007, they were unable to win the FEI Dressage World CupTM for a fourth consecutive year, but they were back in the hunt in 2008. The couple once more finished ahead of Isabel Werth & Warum Nicht to win gold, as if they had never been away. It was Van Grunsven’s astounding ninth championship, which would also be her last.

So let’s move on to the summer of 2008 and the chance for Van Grunsven and Salinero to make Olympic history at the Beijing Games with the equestrian competitions in Hong Kong.

Olympic Equestrian Dressage Tickets
After two rounds, it appeared as though the pressure was beginning to pay off, with Isabell Werth & Satchmo leading after the Grand Prix and Special. The title was up for grabs, but Satchmo’s unwillingness to piaffe in the Freestyle resulted in a lower score than the German had planned for. Salinero and Anky didn’t let us down.

Hong Kong would be the first person to win three gold medals, according to Anky, who spoke to FEI.org. Even though I didn’t want to, I was unable to stop thinking about it. Extreme temperatures were present for the entire week. Even though the week had been the most trying of my life, I have never been prouder of myself than when I earned the third gold medal!

The two also assisted the Netherlands in winning Squad Silver in Beijing, and they went back in time in 2012 when Salinero, then 18 years old, assisted Anky and the Dutch team in winning Team Bronze in London. The horse had been slated for retirement by Anky a few years prior, but he proved he could still hold his own against the finest.

It was Salinero’s final noteworthy performance before his retirement at the age of 19 with a special ceremony in’s-Brabanthallen. Hertogenbosch’s

What about his character?

Riders, grooms, and fans all over the world adored Salinero. He was blessed with a fantastic confirmation from birth, but he was determined to work hard which propelled him to the top.

Salinero was thought to be susceptible to being startled, especially in his early years. Van Grunsven used to get frightened by photographers at contests, so he once invited friends with loud cameras to watch as they practiced.

In the post-medal ceremony honor lap at the 2004 Olympic Games, he startled and spun violently at the start and had to be led by Rusty, the more experienced horse that he had just defeated to the gold.

At the time, van Grunsven stated, “As you can see, he’s no hero outside of the ring, but in the ring, he wants to do it for me.

He is undoubtedly a very hot horse that is constantly up for an adventure, but that is exactly how he fits me.

Salinero was retired to the field in her yard in Erp, the Netherlands, after initially engaging in light training at home. As she continued to post videos and pictures of the aging Salinero on social media, Anky’s devotion to her long-term lover was evident.

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