Canadian grand prix competitor Tina Irwin of Stouffville, Ontario, has sold her 13-year old Oldenburg gelding Laurencio, aboard which she won Pan Am team gold and individual silver and helped the Canadian Dressage Team earn a ticket to Tokyo. The horse has gone to Christina Morin-Graham of Malvern, Pennsylvania, to be ridden on the small tour and become her grand prix schoolmaster.
“It was a hard decision,” Tina admitted. “But you know, as trainers this is how we make a living and we get the next horse and continue on. I had him for almost nine years and it was just the perfect situation. It was the right time and the right person, and it just worked well, so I’m really happy about it.”
Tina and Laurencio cantered onto the scene in 2016 at the international small tour level, winning a stunning nine classes in a row that year. Named Dressage Canada Horse of the Year for 2016, Laurencio added four CDI victories in 2017 and moved up to grand prix level the following year. Tina dropped the gelding back to the small tour level in 2019, specifically to help Canada qualify for the Olympics, which they achieved triumphantly at the Pan Ams, earning Laurencio a second Dressage Canada Horse of the Year title.
The Irwins had met Christina at the Saugerties New York CDI when they were stabled beside each other and naturally started chatting. Then Christina tragically lost her top dressage horse, DP Weltmieser, in November last year from an aortic rupture. The gelding had previously been an Australian team horse, competing at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon with Brett Parbery. “Christina called me after he had passed away and said, ‘You know, I lost a really special horse and now I think I’m ready to find that next one. So she was looking for that special horse to fill that void. I said, ‘You know, I have a special one, but he’d have to go to a special home’ and so we just evolved from there.”
Tina will now aim her ‘fancy’ grand prix mare Fancy That at the 2020 Olympic Games and is currently in Wellington for the AGDF winter dressage tour. “She’s always been a bit in Laurencio’s shadow, as he’s always been number one, so I think she’s going to really like having the full attention on her like the diva she is!” she said, laughing.