Last year Sydney Olympic champion Gestion Bonfire, now 19 years old, was to formally retire during Indoor Brabant amidst his thousands of fans. The FMD crisis prevented this great farewell. "Let's do it a year later," said Olympic gold Medalist Anky van Grunsven.
"Indoor Brabant has always been my favorite horse show. It's where my career started and where I celebrated my first victories. My fans have always supported me in 's-Hertogenbosch. After the cancellation of Indoor Brabant in 2001 there were many other options for his farewell celebration. I also asked myself if it was a good idea to postpone his farewell for a year. People may have forgotten about it a little." Nevertheless, Anky and the show's organizers have decided to stage Bonfire's official Farewell during Indoor Brabant 2002, March 23 and 24th.
Show director Gerrit-Jan Swinkels is enthusiastically looking forward to the farewell celebration. "You think the attention for Bonfire is less?" he chuckles, "no way. The demand for tickets for the celebration after the World Cup Dressage Final competition on Sunday afternoon has been enormous. We were afraid we had to let a lot of fans down. In co-operation with Anky we scheduled an extra performance for Bonfire on Saturday afternoon, directly after the World Cup Jumping qualifier, to enable all Bonfire's fans to say farewell."
With Gestion Bonfire Anky van Grunsven had a great career with Olympic gold (2000), World Champion (1994), European Champion (1999) and five World Cup titles.