Tinka’s Serenade, the brilliant showjumping mare ridden by Irish star Billy Twomey and owned by Sue Davies, has been retired at the age of 19.
Billy hailed the horse as “unbelievable” following a success-laden career that was highlighted by a stunning victory at the 2011 Rolex Top 10 final in Paris, while multiple five-star grand prix successes included wins at Basel and Zurich. The partnership also enjoyed a 2013 Horse of the Year Show grand prix triumph.
Tinka’s Serenade represented Ireland in the 2012 London Olympics, 2011 European Championships and 2010 World Equestrian Games, and an outstanding Nations Cup career in Irish colours featured 18 clear rounds, team wins in Aachen and Lummen, in addition to winning a bronze medal at the 2013 Barcelona final.
In total, the horse gained 21 top-five placings in five-star grands prix and World Cup qualifiers, including appearances at the 2011 and 2014 World Cup finals. Career prize money has been in excess of one million Euros.
“She has been an unbelievable horse for me since around 2009,” Twomey said. “I am very lucky to have had her, and I am very grateful for what she has done for me. Over the years, she just improved and improved.
“She was very head-strong when we first got her, spinning around and doing all sorts of naughty things, but she eventually relaxed and really got into her job the older she got.
“We knew that she was a talented horse. She was second in the Foxhunter final with her previous rider Emma-Jo Slater, so she obviously had some talent.
“She is a born fighter, a horse that really rose to the occasion. The more atmosphere, noise and things that were going on, the better she was. It really used to lift her. She was very good when the job had to be done, especially in Nations Cups. She jumped a lot of important clear rounds for Ireland, which we are very proud of.
“The Top 10 final is probably the most memorable. It’s the top 10 riders in the world competing against each other – the best of the best on that day – and she had been in really good form around that time. To win it was really special.”
The likely plan for Tinka’s Serenade now is to do some more embryo transfers during the Spring at the Davies’ Pewit Stud in Cheshire, before spending the majority of her time based with Twomey.
“She jumped clear in the Amsterdam Grand Prix three weeks ago, and in modern-day showjumping it is pretty unheard of for a horse of that age to still be competing at five-star level competitively,” Twomey added.
“She was still winning at 19, and I just thought maybe it was time to not go on any more and finish at the very top with the horse still in really good shape and at the top of her game.
“I want to thank all the people that have helped me with her along the way, the vets, farriers, physios and everyone that has been associated with her, especially the two grooms — Alana Gamble and Kerry Finch — who have looked after her throughout her career.
“Most of all, I would like to thank Sue Davies, my long-term owner, for making it all possible. She has been truly outstanding in giving me the freedom to enable me to do what I wanted to with the mare, and wonderfully supportive in all our ventures together.”
Image: Billy Twomey with Sue and Eddie Davies and Tinka’s Serenade