13.08.2020 | Age: 3

Thanks Falci (1992-2019)

When you spend 23 years together, you not only know each other very, very well, but you can't imagine life without each other.

Photo: Rzepa

Photo: Toffi

Photo: Schreiner

Photo: Toffi

Every morning a friendly greeting from the first box and a quiet bubbling, so that you don't forget to eat your carrot, that could get a little louder - after all, you are still number 1 in the house...

This greeting is now missing - the happy, curious look and the warm nose, which is delicately stealing the carrot from your hand...

Falcao (aka Falci) has left us after 23 years together full of beautiful moments, memories and successes. Despite immediate help from our veterinarians and the veterinary clinic he did not survive a severe colic at the end of January. Unfortunately it was clear very quickly that he will not recover and so we let him go with a heavy heart.

With Falcao I have an unbelievable connection, he came to us in Achleiten when he was 4 years old and the current German National Champion 1996. I was allowed to try him in Bernhard Schäffer's stable - admittedly a bit funny picture, a little squirt at the age of 10 - but I immediately got along with him and felt at home on his back. Nevertheless, we never thought back then in our lives how far we would get together. My dad took over Falci's training and I was allowed to "grow together" with him more and more until we started our first joint exam (class M) in 1999 in Steyr. From then on it went somehow blow by blow. In 2000 we were already part of the Junior European Championship team and could bring home not only a team bronze medal but also individual bronze from Lipica (SLO). We never dreamed that it could go on like this! But Falci fought for me and we could repeat this success at the EM in Iserlohn (GER) 2001. In 2002 we even made it one more European Championship podium - in Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA) we won double silver! We, or better he, were almost unstoppable. In 2003 we made an excursion into the small tour - among other things with successes at the Pferd International in Munich - but skipped the YR camp and at the end of the season we ventured into our first joint competitions of the "big ones", Inter II and GP in Berlin. Falcao has constantly outgrown himself and surprised us again and again with his progress, his motivation and his zeal! His irrepressible attitude led us less than 1 year after our 1st GP to the Olympic Games in Athens and there even up to the Grand Prix Special! I could not believe my luck! The following seasons we were also part of the European Championship team in Hagen and the World Championship team in Aachen and we also made it into the Special at both major events. 2007 at the EM in Turin Falci made my first EM final possible! It was really unbelievable - I was allowed to participate in the final freestyle for the first time. When I realized that during the last greeting in the special with place 12, the joy was so great that I almost left the saddle prematurely - but Falci had the peace of mind for both of us and we completed our first European Free Dance together with place 12 and enjoyed it to the full. The year after he carried me to the Olympic Games again after the qualification for the individual place via Aachen, Dortmund, Munich and Stuttgart. After that he left the "big" events to the younger ones and Falci said goodbye to the tournament sport in 2009 fit and happy. In the course of our journey together we were not only able to take part in all the big show grounds and championships (5 years in a row in the Austrian Championship team) of the world such as Aachen (CHIO Freestyle Final), but also to collect numerous medals: in total: 4x European Championship Bronze Juniors, 2x European Championship Silver Juniors and 5x Austrian National Champion (2004-2007, 2009). We competed in 135 competitions in our 11 seasons, 95 of them at GP level - and together we were able to collect 64 victories, 31 of them in the GP.

Falci enjoyed his pension with us in Achleiten, but never gave up his "boss box" - the very first one in the stable. He didn't even think about moving to the other "pensioners" in Achleiten - and so he took "his place" again after a short time. His daily companions, besides me and my parents, during his show career were especially his "Brigitte" - who accompanied him all around the world, e.g. to Athens and Hong Kong - and Erwin - who took him to the extensive paddocks until his last day. He never liked the cleaning - he was much too "ticklish" - and when his colleagues were getting ready for the departure to the tournament, he would stay in his box until the very end - thinking we had forgotten him - he still has to get on the truck! We will miss all this because he was always there, peacefully grazing or happily bucking in the paddock while he watched his followers training in the arena, but the memories remain as well as the gratitude...

That much you have made possible for me Falci! I hope I could give you back even a little bit of it. Thank you - and farewell! You will always be in my heart.