Two High Performance Grand Prix Dressage Horses Pass Away Suddenly

On October 31, two beloved Grand Prix Dressage horses left this earth, both suddenly, both before their time, and both beloved long time partners of their owners.

Tami Crawford and Dakota

Tami Crawford’s Dakota succumbed to a sudden attack of what is suspected to be botulism at her Tennessee Farm. The eighteen year old Hanoverian had been Crawford’s partner since she purchased him as a three-year-old in Germany from Herbert and Karin Rehbein, who own the sire, perhaps the greatest Oldenburg stallion of all time, Donnerhall. "I had seen so many wonderful horses, but none had captured my heart.” Said crawford. “When they led him into the arena, before I even saw him move, I knew he was the one."

Tami Fleming Crawford surpassed her expectations with Dakota training him to Grand Prix by the age of nine, under the guidance of Robert Dover. The pair twice qualified for the Olympic Selection Trials in Dressage, in 2000 and 2004, and placed fifth at the 2003 World Cup Trials in Los Angeles.

At eighteen, Dakota was still going strong and living a happy life on Crawford’s beautiful farm and training facility in College Grove, Tennessee. “I cannot believe I am writing these words.” said Crawford in an e-mail to DressageDaily. “He was my partner and friend for fifteen years, and he gave me his all.”

Ashley Holzer and Imperioso

The 16 year old Dutch bred stallion Imperioso (Cocktail x Tangelo xx) died in his stable in New York October 31. It is believed he suffered a brain aneurism, or heart attack. Imperioso was in great form and due to be shipped that day to Toronto, where he was being lent to Martina Von Butlar (Pracht), to participate in an eight horse quadrille at the Royal Winter Fair.

Canadian Ashley Holzer competed Imperioso at the Athens Olympics, the WEG 2002 Jerez, and the WEG 2006 Aachen. “I truly thought Perry would go on forever. He was always full of life.” Holzer told DressageDaily. “The day before he died I had ridden him outside and my girlfriend even commented he looked better that ever. He was so perfect in every way. My daughter Emma (9) was even piaffing and passaging him a few weeks ago telling me how easy dressage was! He was truly the family pet that just happened to be an international dressage stallion sometimes! The fact that he was blind in one eye never seemed to bother him at all. Every day he was good. We called him "Perfect Perry" because he was perfect. I was so lucky to have him in my life. I miss him so much.”