The Horse Rider's Journal

One in a century

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Some 40 years ago, a gentle-eyed colt was born in Liselund park in Moen in the south of Denmark. Fusing the names of his grandsire Marcio and his sire Herzog, his breeders called him Marzog. Little did anyone know that in 1999, he would be awarded the title of Best Dressage Horse of the Century by a jury appointed by the International Equestrian Federation.

The Horse Rider’s Journal No. 7

Marzog burst on to the world stage in the 1980s, bringing an extraordinary grace and lightness to dressage. Ridden by Anne Grethe Törnblad, this Danish Warmblood dominated the international dressage arena for almost a decade and became one of its most successful horses of all time. Anne was 25 when she first met Marzog, then aged three and broken in, and she bought the long-limbed gelding soon after. Aged five, Marzog performed a picture perfect flying change on Christmas Eve, 1978. From then on everything seemed to come easily for Marzog, who graduated from Novice to Grand Prix in only four years. He won his first Danish Championship in 1980 at the tender age of seven.

676037In Aachen in 1983, Anne Grethe transformed dressage when she became European Champion with a harmonious ride on the amazing Marzog, beating favourites Dr Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich. The following year, Anne and Marzog won an individual Olympic silver medal. As a light-footed dancer, the new World Cup format with freestyle to music was tailor-made for Marzog. He and Anne were the first combination to achieve the World Cup dressage title at the inaugural final in ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in 1986. That same year in Toronto, Canada, they became World Champions.

A true idol, Marzog retired in 1988, spending the rest of his days on Anne Grethe and Leif Törnblad’s farm near Copenhagen. He died in 1991. But Marzog and his extraordinary life is not forgotten: His performances live on and will keep inspiring riders for years to come.