Doha, Qatar – Feb. 28, 2021 – Following the Grand Prix Freestyle at the CDI5* Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 27, Damsey FRH’s owners Louise Leatherdale, Susanne Meyer and his rider Helen Langehanenberg retired the world-class stallion in an emotional ceremony. At the age of 19 years-old, Damsey is as fit and healthy as ever and closed out his career with a performance in Doha that earned an impressive score of 82.05% and second place in the CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle.
“I could not be more proud of Damsey FRH and Helen Langehanenberg for all they have accomplished together,” Louise Leatherdale, owner of Leatherdale Farms, stated. “He is a once in a lifetime horse, and has made his mark on history as a competitor and stallion time and time again. Keeping him healthy, happy and fit is always our top priority!”
Damsey FRH’s achievements both in and out of the arena are innumerable. As a youngster Damsey was a premium stallion at his Hanoverian licensing and finished his 30-day-test in Adelheidsdorf in 2005 with the rideability top score of 9.25. He was also champion at the 2006 and 2009 Danish stallion licensing in Herning. After winning a series of young horses dressage classes and being a two-time finalist of the Bundeschampionat he was nominated for the World Breeding Dressage Championships in Verden in 2008.
Damsey FRH first got his start in the international arena with rider Steffen Frahm in 2013. After Louise Leatherdale and her late husband Doug acquired Damsey FRH and made him a new home at Hengststation Jens Meyer, Langehanenberg was given the ride on Damsey, and the stallion’s talents blossomed from there.
With Langehanenberg, he climbed the FEI Dressage World Ranking list to reach the third highest standing in the world and consistently stayed in the Top 10 throughout his career. The pair helped Germany earn gold in the Aachen CDIO5* Nations Cup in both 2018 and 2019, and finished with the bronze medal at the 2019 FEI Dressage World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden. Competing across Europe with great success since 2016, Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH have always been a captivating crowd favorite wherever they set foot.
Although the trials of 2020 caused competitions around the world to be put on hold, Damsey FRH racked up impressive scores in World Cup Qualifying competitions with Langehanenberg, securing him top placements on the 2020 World Ranking List of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH). On the prestigious ranking list against the best horses in the world, Damsey FRH (Dressage Royal—Ria Grande, Ritual) was named the No. 1 Hanoverian Dressage Horse, as well as the No. 1 Hanoverian Dressage Stallion for the year.
Most recently, Damsey FRH and Langehanenberg were unstoppable in European competition throughout 2020. The pair was awarded a score of 84.38% for their freestyle performance in Amsterdam’s CDI-W in January, an 85.22% for their freestyle in Neumunster in February, and returned from the break in competition to earn 83.865% for the freestyle in Mariakalnok in June. In October, Damsey FRH and Langehanenberg earned 82.105% for their freestyle in Vilhelmsborg, Denmark. All of their competitions in 2020 offered FEI World Cup qualifying points and their impressive scores moved Damsey FRH the top of the WBFSH ranking list.
Outside of his career as a Grand Prix dressage competitor, Damsey FRH has made a mark on the breeding world with world-class progeny around the world. At the 2010 Herwart-von-der-Decken-Show, he drew attention to himself with his first offspring crop, siring the overall winner. From Young Horse division winners to international Grand Prix sons and daughters, owners are thrilled by the rideability, elegance and work ethic of his offspring. He continues to sire impressive offspring, and will return to Hengststation Jens Meyer in Dorum, Germany, to stand at stud and enjoy his fruitful retirement.
His rider, Helen Langehanenberg, reflected on their partnership and said the following of Damsey’s retirement.
“Even though we’ve been considering when and where to retire Damsey, the decision for it to take place in Doha was quite spontaneous. It would have been nicer and certainly preferred to do this in Germany in front of ′′his′′ audience, but in times of coronavirus, his owner Louise Leatherdale, his co-owner Susanne Meyer and I agreed that it simply cannot be planned.
“He’s in top shape with so much power. He still is so happy to show because he loves when everything revolves around him,” Langehanenberg laughed. “Though the papers say 19, there is no 19-year-old stallion in front of us, which is why we want to leave the backdoor open to ourselves and Damsey – maybe we’ll show him again at a show or two this year if it fits.”
Damsey came to my stable in 2016 and I can say that it never got boring during my time with him. He was and always is good for a surprise. Just like at the 2019 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, where we came on the final line with jet drive and greeted the chief judge’s table. With our personal best of 86.572%, we became third [in the world] at the time. Damsey is a very special horse with an absolutely brilliant charisma and remarkable character. I learned a tremendous amount from him. He gives me everything.”