Olympic Games, Sydney, September 2000, Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) riding Baloubet du Rouet

The Selle Français ‘super-stallion’ Baloubet du Rouet (Galoubet A - Mesange du Rouet x Starter) has passed away of natural causes at the age of 28. Under the saddle of Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, Baloubet was a dominant personality in showjumping arenas around the world throughout his career, and in his retirement as an influential breeding stallion – in 2012 earning the title of ‘leading sire’ by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. It was, in fact, in the hands of Rodrigo’s dad, Nelson, that Baloubet, bred in France by Louis Fardin, progressed through the young-horse ranks, winning the six-year-old WBCYH and the French championships in Fontainebleau as a seven-year-old. Nelson also rode Baloubet to the final round of the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome, Italy – which saw Rodrigo win individual gold riding Gandini Lianos. Baloubet was subsequently passed to Rodrigo who added mutiple titles to the stallion’s resumé, including individual gold at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and, notably, back-to-back wins in three world cup finals, Helsinki 1998, Gothenberg 1999 and Las Vegas 2000 – the first and only combination to achieve this feat, to date. Baloubet was finally retired from competition in 2006 at the age of 17, with a total of 65 titles to his name. In a tribute to Baloubet, Rodrigo Pessoa posted the following message: “You arrived as a wild 5-year-old kid, but you showed a lot of potential on the very first jump. The start was not easy, but you were so intelligent that you understood everything very quickly. You grew up to becoe one of the greatest horses in history. Talent, beauty, energy, power, skill and elegance made you the best."

Nelson Pessoa (BRA) riding Baloubet at World Equestrian Games, Rome October 1998