|Photo Credit Corbis Images|
Eagle Lion, the horse Bruce Davidson rode to the first US win at the Badminton CCI****, was euthanized on Dec. 18. He was 27.
Davidson began training Eagle Lion (Gipfel - Stream Lion, Ideal Water) when the Irish-bred gelding was 3. In 1992, Eagle Lion won the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) at the age of 7, and in 1995, he and Davidson won England's most famous four-star: Badminton. They also placed in the top five at Badminton in 1994 and 1998, as well as placing fourth at the Burghley CCI **** (England) in 1993. He was named the Chronicle's Eventing Horse of the YEar in 1997 after finishing 8th at Badminton and 11th at teh Open European Eventing Championships (England). He was also chosen as one the The Chronicle's 50 Most Influential Horses of the 20th Century.
" He wrote the book on how to jump", said Davidson in a Feb. 2, 1996 article in the Chronicle. "All you have to do is stay on. He has jumped me off three times in competition. One was Kentucky in 1992 - I clucked, and he jumped me right over his head. I'll never do that again."
Davidson often mentioned that he wished there was a five-star three day to really test "Eagle's" jumping.
In 2007, Eagle was immortalized in a statue by artist Jean Clagett at the Kentucky Horse Park. The sculpture epicts Eagle and Davidson jumping into the Head of the Lake at the Rolex Ky Three-Day Event.
Eagle, who was purchased by George Strawbridge in 1994, retired to Davidson's Chesterland Farm in Unionville, Pa., where he lived until he died. "I appreciate George as an owner. He came through at a time that was helpful for me to be able to keep the horse," said Davidson. "If we had horse like him now, we'd be winning medals. He had character, he was an athlete, he was a competitor, he was intelligent, and he was tough. We were a wonderful team, and he'll be sorely missed."
International appreciation of this legendary horse was also apparent in this article written by Horse Talk NZ