Canadian dressage rider Linday Kellock has announced that she has retired her Olympic partner Sebastien, a 16-year-old Rhinelander gelding by Sandro Hit owned by Enterprise Farm Equestrian, LLC. In a July 5th Facebook post, Kellock thanked the team involved in Sebastien’s journey, including long-time coach and mentor Ashley Holzer, writing:
“With much thought, love, sadness, and appreciation. Today I announce the retirement of my dance partner, Sebastien.
“We had our sights set on WEG, but over the past few months Sebastien has been battling some health issues and after much thought and discussion with Sebastien’s wonderful owner, Melissa [Schiff Soros] and veterinarian, Dr. Mitchell, we feel it is in the best interest of Sebastien to give him the retirement he deserves….
“Sebastien helped me through the most difficult time in my life [losing her brother in January 2021] and gave me a reason to keep going and push through to reach my lifelong dream of being an Olympian …
“Thank you to Sebastien for being a great partner. You are cheeky, hilarious, loving, scary, opinionated, confident, loyal all at once. Even though we had our moments where you would try and dictate how the ride was going to go or on some days attempt to dump me into the judges’ booths I will always miss going down the centerline with you. I will never forget the feeling you gave me when you wanted to show off for the crowd. You were a real showman when you wanted to be and I will always cherish the partnership we had and the special moments we shared together, both in and out of the ring.
“Happy retirement Seb. You deserve it.”
In an interview with Horse Sport last year, Kellock described how she first met ‘Seb’ when she went for a job interview for the position of head trainer at Enterprise Farm Equestrian in Wellington, FL, in September of 2016. “My first impression was that he is a very intelligent horse with a big ego. He comes across grumpy at first, but once he gets to know you and trust you he’s a lovely guy and wants to feel respected and important all the time.”
She first suspected that he had the talent to go all the way to the Olympics at Devon in 2019, where they won an evening class under the lights in the big stadium. “I had no idea going into it how he was going to handle that pressure and he really rose to the occasion and tried his heart out for me. We ended up winning the class with a 71% … I learned in that moment that Sebastien wanted to go all the way and show everyone what he’s capable of.”
Seb and Kellock’s other career highlights include being on the silver medal Nations Cup team in Wellington FL in 2020 and bronze medal squad in 2021; winning the 3* GPS in Wellington and 3* GP/GPS at Ocala (2021); 2nd place at Tryon in the GPF with 79%; and of course representing Canada at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Their final competition together was the CDI5* Grand Prix at AGDF 7 in Wellington, Florida this past February; two days later in the Grand Prix Freestyle, Kellock retired during their test as the horse was clearly not himself.
Looking ahead, Kellock is looking forward to bringing up other talented young horses for Schiff Soros “so we can continue on this amazing journey together.”