May 1, 2003 -- Rym, beloved vaulting horse and friend of many, was humanely euthanized on Friday, April 4th at the University of California at Davis. Although he has passed in body from our presence, his spirit will remain in the hearts of those who knew him and enjoyed competing on such a fine vaulting horse.
After extensive unsuccessful treatments and procedures attempting to correct and ease Rym's physical problems, veterinarians determined that nothing could be done to avert those problems. With his groom, Zenon Quintana, beside him, Rym passed on.
Rym led a full life from his birth in Poland in 1981 until his passing in Davis, CA recently. During his 22 years, this Polish thoroughbred was able to travel all over the world and was at one point a citizen of both Poland and Germany, and later of the United States. He is fondly remembered by all those who vaulted on him, including Jeannette Boxall, a former world champion vaulter, and Mari Inoye, a recent vaulting champion.
Jeannette remembers a story that describes Rym's personality and love for children. In Germany in 1990, Rym was loose in an arena with children who were playing soccer. He watched them and walked among them until he too had the opportunity to nose and kick the ball. It turns out that Rym was good at two sports in his lifetime.
Rym began his career as a vaulting horse under the care of Dr. Andrzej Salacki, a champion Polish dressage rider and experienced longeur. In 1987 and 1988, he was leased by the late Ilse Lorenz (affectionately known as "Ila") for Jeannette's use in international competitions. In 1988 alone, Rym carried Jeannette along with other vaulters in four CVI competitions in Budapest, Hungary; Bern, Switzerland; Jozefin, Poland; and Ebriechsdorf, Austria. While Jeannette competed on Rym under the flag of the United States prior to 1990, she then went on to compete with Rym under the flag of Poland from 1990 to 1992, with "Ila," as Jeannette says, "always there to make everything work and encouraging me and other international vaulters, including giving each of us surprise Easter baskets during the Easter holiday." Clearly, it was Ilse Lorenz who supported the dual citizenship held by both Rym and Jeannette, and who helped Jeannette become an exemplary world champion.
In 1989, Rym was purchased by Ilse Lorenz, residing in her stables in Germany and traveling to compete in CVI** Budapest, Hungary; CVI** Mannheim, Germany; and CVI** Saumur, France.
In 1990, Rym carried Jeannette to additional titles in CVI competitions in Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, and France. He experienced his first World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, Sweden, carrying Jeannette to a 7th place finish.
After his adventures throughout Europe, Rym traveled across the Atlantic to Canada, where he competed in CVI** Cloverdale. He got his first glimpse of his future home in 1992 when he came to San Francisco, CA to compete in CVI San Francisco.
In 1996, Rym was transferred in ownership to Mrs. Phoebe H. Cooke and was stabled at the Cookes' horse ranch in Paso Robles, CA. There he was inseparable from his long time friend and travel companion Cosmo, another Polish horse trained by Dr. Salacki, who was a close friend of Ilse Lorenz.
Rym took part in numerous demonstrations all over the United States and Europe while also competing in CVI competitions. He became one of the most experienced and beloved vaulting horses in the world and was renowned for his smooth, uninterrupted canter and patience with vaulters. "He was one of the smoothest horses I have ever been on and didn't have a mean bone in his body," said Jeannette. One of Rym's long-time longers, Natalie Kapsoff, offered similar sentiments: "When I think of Rym I think of heart. The red horse always gave everything he had in compulsories as well as in practice.
During the compulsories, his last canter stride was as perfect as his first. I was always proud to longe my old friend."
Rym carried many Sundance Vaulters while he resided in California, including Mari Inoye, the 2001 Woman's National Champion Vaulter. Mari remembers Rym as "one of the best horses we had" and says she "enjoyed every opportunity to vault on him. He was a wonderful horse and could always be relied on by every member of the Sundance Vaulters team. Thank you, Rym!"
Mari will vault in his memory and that of his late owner, Ilse Lorenz, in Nitra, Slovakia on April 26th and 27th. This competition will be dedicated to the memory of Ilse and Rym and their many contributions to the sport of vaulting. Mrs. Cooke said that "Ila and Rym were a lot alike in that they were both givers and not takers."
Not only did Rym contribute to the sport of vaulting during his lifetime, but he also contributed to a special scientific project led by AXYS Analytical Services, Ltd. of British Columbia, Canada. AXYS is working on an environmental project that involves analyses of human and horse blood as well as environmental samples collected from water, soil, and air. The focus is to see if a connection can be established between contaminants found in the environment and unexplained health problems in people and horses.
Kent Berger-North, AXYS project leader, states, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rym in particular, who has made the ultimate contribution possible in the name of science and the betterment of our understanding of our environment. May his contribution be a keystone to the solid foundation of a project that will have benefits far into the future and beyond the scope of our current understanding."
The AXYS project is national in scope, with study sites in California and Colorado as well as at the U.S. Equestrian Team's headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. USET's Frank Lloyd, Chairman of the Board, commented, "The USET is honored to be invited to participate in this pioneering study. We hope the results will prove helpful in understanding and improving the environment within which our athletes, both human and equine, compete and train."
From vaulting competitions and demonstrations around the globe to his important role in the AXYS testing project to benefit human and equine health, Rym was truly a remarkable horse. William Howe, AXYS project participant, has even suggested that "with his astounding winning record worldwide and his positive influence on people and other horses everywhere, Rym ranks alongside Alexander's Bucephalus, Washington's Nelson, Lee's Traveller, and other great horses of history."
To be sure, it was horses like Rym and dedicated horse lovers like Ilse Lorenz that brought the sport of vaulting into the limelight in Europe, Eastern Europe, and the United States. As Jeannette has said, "Both were champions as much as I was, and both lived to ensure that vaulting became an increasingly recognized and international sport." We bid them both a loving farewell.
For more information on the USET sport of vaulting, visit www.americanvaulting.org.