Monopoly, a horse who had been one of the top show jumpers in Canada for several years, with Beth Underhill riding, died on Nov. 16, at the age of 32.
The Hanoverian Thoroughbred cross was born in New Zealand in 1979, and imported to Canada in 1989 by the Ierullo family for their daughter Skye. He was difficult for the teenager to handle and was sent to Terrance Millar for training. Underhill, who was one of Millar's students, began riding him and they made a very successful team.
In 1990, 1991 and 1992 they were members of Canada’s winning Nations’ Cup team at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.
At Spruce Meadows they captured two Canadian championships, and finished second in the duMaurier International Grand Prix.
They also won silver medals at the 1991 Pan American Games and competed in the Olympics in Barcelona and the World Equestrian Games in the Netherlands.
In 1993 the Ierullo family donated Monopoly to the Canadian Equestrian Team.
The gelding won his last Grand Prix when he was 20, and a couple of years later retired to Underhill's farm in Ontario.
"He loved the crowd at Spruce Meadows and he loved that course!" Horse Talk quoted her as saying. "Even though he had competed around the world, Spruce Meadows truly was where he felt the most at home."
She added that he was a sensitive horse whose trust had to be earned, but once he trusted someone he would " try his heart out."
“He’s been part of my life for almost half my life,” she told the Globe and Mail . “It’s a long time to have such a strong character involved in all aspects of your career, and then into his retirement. We were lucky to have had him as long as we did.
“He’d been my first team horse and really set me on my career path. I always appreciated him for that. He was part of the family. He knew it.”
After he retired he liked being in a busy area of the barn where he could nip at dogs and try to boss other horses around. He liked to be turned out by himself and didn't like change.
She said that on Wednesday he was returning from his paddock when he began to weave and nickered, dying of a heart attack with his caretakers next to him.
Terrance Millar, chef d’equipe of the Canadian show jumping team, said the accomplishments of Monopoly and Underhill inspired many young equestrians to pursue their dreams.
“Monopoly will always have a special place in the history of the Canadian Equestrian Team,” Akaash Maharaj, CEO of Equine Canada and the Canadian Equestrian Team, said. "He is the most successful horse ever donated directly to our team itself, and his pairing with Beth Underhill was a great boon to our team, to him, and to Canada's performance on the international stage. We are saddened by his passing, but celebrate his long and happy life and his partnership with Beth."
Many people have posted comments on a tribute page for Monopoly.