The leading event sire Jumbo, one of Britain’s favourite stallions, has been put to sleep at the age of 31. The legendary stallion is the leading ‘all time’ sire of event horse with British Eventing (BE) and their leading ‘all time’ sire of competing mares. His most famous offspring are the record-breaking duo, Avebury and Headley Britannia.
With Andrew Nicholson, Avebury was the first horse to achieve back-to-back wins at Burghley (2012 & 2013) and then last year became the first horse to win the event three times. Ridden by Lucinda Fredericks, Headley Britannia also broke eventing records; she was the first mare to win three four-star events; Burghley (2006), Badminton (2007) and Kentucky (2009).
Twelve things you never knew about Jumbo
1. Jumbo was bought as a weanling from the Malvern sales by Carolyn Bates of the Grafham Stud, now in Devon, who owned him for the rest of his life
2. Dressage judge, trainer and journalist Jane Kidd encouraged Carolyn to keep him entire
3. He was an advanced event horse in his own right. With Andrew Nicholson in the saddle he won the young horse trophy at Le Lions D’Angers as a seven-year-old and the following year, 1992, was 15th at the Boekelo CCI3*. He was then retired from eventing
4. In 1996 he appeared in pantomime at the South of England ridden by Carl Hester and was frightened of the zebra
5. He competed in show jumping with William Funnell and in dressage with Lizzie Murray with who he won the 1997 Spillers Combined Training Championship at Blenheim
6. He is the sire of 45 advanced event horses
7. He has nine graded sons in the UK; Jetset, Free Spirit, Brief Encounter, Med Night Mahout, Jigilo, Philanderer, Burfas Bugaboo, Mr Bo Jangles, Iggulden Skye Laird and three graded sons overseas
8. He loved hunting and once competed with the Bicester Hunt in the inter-hunt relay finals at Stoneleigh. He also loved children and dogs
9. He hated the wind and became extremely difficult to handle in very windy conditions
10. He considered new bags of shavings as potentially dangerous and took years to get used to having a new bag in his stable
11. He once suffered and beat the serious and potentially fatal disease of Purpura Haemorrhagica (an immune response causing inflammation of the blood vessels)
12. After retiring from stud five years ago he was always stabled and put out next to the same two mares.