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Brianne Goutal Retires Onira, Adopts a Mini

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“Retail therapy” is the act of shopping to make oneself feel happier.

It’s not recognized as a legitimate treatment in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by healthcare professionals. But that’s never stopped anyone from giving it a solid go.

Case in point: Brianne Goutal.

The 28-year-old rider retired her long-time partner Onira at the Hampton Classic in Bridgehampton, NY on Sunday.

For the past 13 years, the KWPN Warmblood gelding has seen Goutal through an incredible junior career to the birth of her first child.

Onira was the horse that took her to her first equitation final (she’d capture all four major titles in her career). He’s also the mount that earned her a team gold at the North American Young Riders Championships in 2004 and saw her to her first World Cup Finals in Goteborg, Sweden where they finished just outside the top 20.

They’d go on to collected FEI victories in San Remo, Italy, La Clusaz, France, Wellington, FL, Washington, DC and Calgary, Alberta as well as numerous national Grand Prix titles.

At the tender age of 17, Onira captured a 1.60m CSI4* at Spruce Meadows. Just last year, at 20, he won a 1.45m CSI2* class in Tryon, NC.

Sunday saw their final farewell to the showring. Goutal, of Royal Palm Beach, FL, and her veteran partner rode through the timers one last time at the Hampton Classic Horse Show, finishing second in the $30,000 Boar’s Head 1.40m Jumper Challenge. It was a fitting end to an incredibly enduring career.

“I guess it is bittersweet,” said Goutal. “He’s done so many big classes, he has won so many classes and everything I did first, I did them with him. The equitation finals, my first grand prix, my first World Cup Finals. I’m really proud I’ve had him for so long, he is 21 and retiring on a day like today where it’s against 60 horses and still has a real chance of contending. He has really been an honor to have.”

How did she cope with the end of a spectacular era? By adding another pasture ornament to her string.

On Monday, Goutal adopted a Miniature Horse, hereby known as “Mickey Blue Eyes,” as part of the Hampton Classic’s annual Animal Adoption Day. The tiny gelding is “for her daughter,” she says. Which is funny because it’s the same reason most parents use to purchase anything with recurring costs over its lifetime. (See: dog, new car, Manolo Blahnik shoes.)

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“I suppose it’s maybe a little premature, since my daughter is only eight months old, but it never hurts to be prepared!” laughed Goutal.

“Val from the Equus Foundation sent me the photo of him and a few others, and I was smitten. Since meeting him, I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised by his demeanor—he’s been accosted by children all day today, anyone can hold him and he even jumped his first obstacle today!”

Goutal, it’s worth noting, is an ambassadors of the Equus Foundation. Because she’s a nice person, too.

Celebrating its seventh year at the Hampton Classic Monday, this year’s Animal Adoption Day also featured small animals from Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Last Chance Animal Rescue, Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue, Happy Tails Dog Rescue, Second Chance Rescue, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation and Tails of Courage.

Whether Goutal added a dog and/or new cat to her growing brood—”for her daughter”—was not reported. If not, there’s always next year.


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