“My favorite memory with Chacco was winning the RBC Grand Prix when I wasn’t well. The win was 70% horse and 30% rider.  He knew he had to take care of me and seemed to rise to the occasion,” said Eric Lamaze of the 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

Over the course of his career, Chacco Kid rose to the occasion a great many times, and Lamaze wasn’t the only rider who could count on him. The gelding also boasted successful campaigns at the international level with Nina Mallevaey (FRA), Beth Underhill (CAN) and Kara Chad (CAN).

Yesterday, June 21st, Lamaze announced the retirement of Chacco Kid from competition after he sustained an injury to his check ligament while competing with Underhill in the 1.50m ATB Cup at the Spruce Meadows National tournament. Both his age and the length of his career played a factor in the decision.

“Chacco was landing and turning from the double Rolex vertical when one of his hind feet clipped the front foot. Normally, the front shoe would come off but in this case it didn’t. He tried to step out of it, resulting in an injury to his check ligament,” said Lamaze.

“At 16 years old, it’s too much to expect him to come back and jump again. Instead, we’re looking forward to giving him a nice retirement in the field in Belgium where we can see him every day and enjoy reliving many memories.”

Photocredit: Starting Gate Communications

Lamaze and Chacco Kid have been making memories since the speedy chestnut joined Torrey Pines Stables in 2016. The pair captured numerous career embellishing wins, including the RBC Grand Prix CSI5* 1.60m at Spruce Meadows in 2019 and the CSIO5* MAG Prize at the Piazza Di Siena in 2021. Both results came after Lamaze revealed he was battling brain cancer.

“His personality, his heart, and his carefulness allowed him to maneuver some of the biggest courses in the world,” said Lamaze.

Indeed, consistency has been Chacco Kid’s calling card. In 223 career international starts, the gelding boasts an impressive 56% clear round rate and finished in the top 10 43% of the time, according to JUMPR App stats. Those percentages rise to 61% and 55%, respectively, in 59 starts at the 1.55m level.

At 16, it appeared Chacco Kid was still coasting around courses in his prime. He’s logged top 10 finishes every month this year since February, with three different riders in the stirrups.

Related reading: Four Riders, One Result: Chacco Kid Continues to Deliver

But the strains of top sport often present a contrasting reality for even its most successful athletes.

“It’s sad to see a horse that has done so much for so many riders leave the sport this way,” said Lamaze.

“It’s the sport and we have to live with it, just like athletes have career-ending injuries in hockey and basketball and other sports. There are accidents that, even with the best care, we cannot prevent. On days like these, we should remember and celebrate this extraordinary horse and all that he accomplished.”

Feature image: Starting Gate Communications