There is no question that this horse is exceptional, but he also had a unique trainer. In 1988, Hugin, a two-year-old Knabstrupper stallion, was introduced to Danish equestrian instructor Bent Branderup. Love was evident at first glimpse.
Hugin received the Danish Premium Champion Stallion of the Year award in 1991. Then, the unimaginable took place. Hugin fractured both of his back femurs and broke his front splint bone as a result of a breeding mishap.
The veterinarian recommended immediate euthanasia. Branderup said no. Instead, he worked for years on healing the stallion’s legs, slowly re-introducing dressage to stretch and strengthen them.
Incredibly enough, the mighty stallion was able to make a full recovery. However, Hugin was hit with yet another difficult challenge.
In 1996, Hugin became blind in both eyes. Once again, Branderup was not going to give up on his extraordinary stallion.
Branderup worked countless hours to rebuild Hugin’s confidence and trust by using dressage. He was dedicated to giving Hugin the best life possible.
Thanks to Branderup’s help, Hugin was able to continue on in his dressage endeavors.
“With him, I learned not to use the horse for the dressage, but the dressage for the horse,” said Branderup.
Despite all the hardships Hugin was given in life, he was able to overcome them thanks to his dedicated trainer. The beautiful spotted horse was able to practice dressage well into his twenties, which is an amazing accomplishment for any horse, let alone one that has faced injury and blindness.
Watch Hugin beautifully execute maneuvers at twenty-three in the following video, which shows the special relationship he had with Branderup.
At 26, Hugin was even able to help Branderup’s eight-year-old daughter Birgitta learn about the art of dressage through feeling and seat.
In 2015, Hugin passed away at the age of 29. He led an incredible life and never let his hardships hold him back from being a talented dressage horse. Branderup was committed to his faithful mount, always believing in him and doing what was best for the stallion.
A statue commemorating Hugin was revealed later in 2015 at Summer Academy to commemorate the amazing stallion.