By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Günter Seidel and Jane and Dick Brown have ended one of the most enduring partnerships in the history of dressage during which the German-born rider competed with their horses in three Olympics and five world championships to collect four bronze and one team silver medal.
Jane Brown told dressage-news.com that the with the end of the 23-year relaionship that U II, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Jazz x Rohdiva x Rohdiamant) and Sundayboy, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding (Kennedy x Eezelma x Zevenaar) will be retired to a farm near where Günter has trained them. The last competitions with Günter were at Aachen, Germany and Fritzens, Austria, this summer. U II was considered a prime prospect for the U.S. team for the Olympics in London next year.
She quoted a passage from Ecclesiates: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die…”
“And a time to part,” she addded, explaining that her husband had returned home earlier Tuesday from 12 days in the hospital and was “quite ill.”
Of the two horses that Günter competed in Europe this summer for the first time since the U.S. team bronze medal performance at the 2006 WEG, she said:
“They are not for sale. They are not for lease. I guess they are retired.”
“This is not a happy time,” Jane said. “Dick is quite ill. We do not need the stress at this time.
“It has been our privelege and honor to serve the United States.”
Günter, aged 50 of Cardiff, California, near San Diego, explained that his ties with the Browns had been “a very exclusive kind of relationship.”
“I wish them the best,” he told dressage-news.
He said that he has no upper level horses, but has a young horse he is bringing along. And he said he has recovered well from a broken pelvis suffered when he was thrown from U II at Klaus Balkenhol’s facility in Germany in June, 2010.
Günter is one of the most accomplished active top level riders in the United States, and is popular on both sides of the Atlantic for his performances during a long international career as well as his easygoing personality.
He will go to the U.S. Festival of Champions at Gladstone, New Jersey, next week to cheer on the riders. The main competiion arena at the historic venue is named after the Browns for their contributions to U.S. dressage over the years.
The retirement of U II removes a prospect for the U.S. team for the Olympics in London in 2012.