It is with great sadness that British Eventing learnt of the sad and sudden loss of Arctic Soul who, with Gemma Tattersall, represented Great Britain with gold medal winning success.
Owned by the Soul Syndicate of Gemma, Marcelle and Clare Tattersall, Linda Allan, Chris and Lisa Stone along with Charlotte and Martyn Huggett, he represented Great Britain at the FEI European Championships at Blair Castle in 2015 and the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018 where he was a member of the gold medal winning team. His ownership by the Soul Syndicate was the result of everyone coming together to raise enough money to purchase him when Philip Kerr and Iona Kerr had wished to sell.
An ex-racehorse that stepped into eventing after his time on the track, ‘Spike’ as he was affectionately known at home achieved numerous high profile international placings on home soil making him the perfect ambassador for ex-racehorses on the global stage. Perfectly matched with Gemma Tattersall as his rider in 2012 the combination went from strength-to-strength – progressing from Novice to CCI4*-L within their first season. The following year they proved themselves with top ten finishes in the CCI4*-S at Chatsworth and the CCI4*-L at Blenheim.
As a formidable pairing, their success continued to take in their first championship appearance in 2015 at Blair and a 3rd place at Badminton in 2016 before winning the Gatcombe leg of the Event Rider Masters series in 2017, becoming the British Open Champion in the process. 2018 saw them selected for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon where, in their role of pathfinder for the team, they played a critical role in securing the Great Britain the Team Gold medal.
Gemma’s mother Marcelle summed up how the family felt about Spike when she said “We were so keen to keep him that we threw out all the stops in order to raise the required amount! He has always been an incredible performer as he was bred to race, not do circles or poles. He has always tried his hardest to do the right thing; sometimes his nerves got the better of him but he could make it up by flying and skipping over the land and country. How I loved to watch them [Arctic Soul and Gemma] make the biggest tracks look easy. What a partnership. Some horses touch your hearts and some horses take them. This one took mine, he was an incredible soul and I loved him dearly.”
Gemma Tattersall paid tribute to Arctic Soul, who passed away shortly after their win of the Advanced section at Weston Park this weekend, by saying “Arctic Soul my absolute hero, my bestie, my darling boy. Today we lost you but you will be with me forever and I will think of you every single day. What we achieved together was just unbelievable really. Words don’t even come close to what I feel right now. Our partnership was something that I might never have again, just something so special, we just understood each other and I always knew what he wanted and he always knew how to look after me back. He has really given us so many amazing wonderful memories that we will all treasure forever”.
Helen West, Chief Executive for British Eventing said “I don’t just speak for myself but for everyone at British Eventing and everyone who supports the sport when I say how incredibly saddened I am by the news of Arctic Soul’s passing. He was an incredible horse who gave his all, not just for Gemma and his owners, but for Great Britain. There are some horses that just stand out as a class of their own and he was definitely one of those and I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to watch him compete first hand. My heartfelt condolences go to Gemma and all his syndicate owners during this very sad time”.
Arctic Soul’s enthusiasm for his eventing career was widely recognised and admired. So much so that Team Vet, Liz Brown, said when she landed with the horses at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon where he took Team Gold “Spike was incredibly happy on the flight! He knew that no one could touch him in his pod, so his ears were pricked the whole journey! He was going the speed of a jet plane…what he loves best.”
British Eventing would like to take this opportunity to extend their sympathy to all concerned during this sad time.
Image supplied by The Soul Syndicate