Zucarlos, Jay Hayes’ mount for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, passed away on June 10, 2013 at the tender age of 32.
Bought as a four-year-old in 1985 from legendary horseman Hans Horn, by a large syndicate put together by Don Wood & future CET Chairman Dr. Ken Peterson and his wife Dr. Gillian Peterson, Zucarlos spent his career as a top international show jumper and a breeding stallion at North Ridge, now located in Orangeville, ON.
Only three riders ever competed with the spirited stallion; Jay Hayes for his entire career, Olympic Gold medalist Eric Lamaze who worked for and trained with Hayes when Zucarlos was younger, and Lauren Hayes who rode him briefly as her first junior jumper before he enjoyed a full retirement.
A truly modern, athletic, balanced, very careful horse and full of scope, Zucarlos was always a crowd favourite with his continuous and famous bucking.
“There are too many stories to tell, but one is at the Barcelona Olympics where there was a long approach to the first fence of the final individual qualifier. He started his bucking and did so all the way to the first fence! The Spanish crowd loved it and started chanting ‘Olé’ in rhythm to his bucking! He kept his focus; but he loved it.” reminisced Hayes.
Although a small horse, he competed fiercely against the best, including the legendary Big Ben. Even with the bucking and his stature, he was an accomplished horse who competed in and won many Grand Prix’s, was a strong team member on 15 Nations Cup teams, as well as competing at the 1989 Tampa World Cup Finals, 1990 Stockholm World Championships and they were the top placed Canadian pair at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He finished top-3 in 10 World Cup Qualifiers between 1988 and 1991 and was 2nd in the Canadian Championships in 1992.
As a breeding stallion he produced some champions, but never fully threw himself and didn’t cross well with the popular throughbreds of the time. In 2012, he sired a promising colt out of Revival (Sire Darco), who’s Dam is Hayes’ current Grand Prix mount, Riva, out of Hayes’ 2000 Sydney Olympic mount, Diva. “It’s nice to keep it all in the family – we can’t wait to see what comes of Zarco,” says Shawn Hayes, Jay’s wife of 33 years.
Zucarlos enjoyed his retirement at The Hayes Family’s farm, North Ridge in Orangeville, Ontario, where he spent his days outside with his beloved Emmanuelle and kept a watch over the comings and goings of day-to-day life.
“In his retirement he was still in charge! If he wanted in or out, that happened right away. He welcomed anyone who came near with his famous nicker. He loved being retired and we were all happy he was able to enjoy the rest of his days with us in Orangeville. He will be missed, but the memories and the stories are still great ones to share. We look forward to honouring him at our event, the Orangeville International CSI2*, in August.” said Hayes.
“I’ve never before then or since been on a horses back where I just knew everything was going to be fine in the ring. He was a competitor on his own and a true partner who did great things for our sport, our country and me,” continued Hayes. “It’s comforting to know he will still be on the farm overlooking the training ring”.