Flexible

Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
(1996 – )
Owned by Harry H. Chapman
Inducted: 2013

Photos

Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman/USEF Archive
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
In 2012 Flexible won the hearts of fans all over the United States. Flexible's victories at U.S. Olympic Team observation events in Del Mar (the $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix and the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar) and at Spruce Meadows (the $35,000 Husky Energy Cup and $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix) never seemed in doubt and earned him a ticket to London where he and rider Rich Fellers led the U.S. Team. Their 8th place finish in the Olympic Games Individual Jumping competition made them the highest placing American pair, but it was a performance earlier in the year against Olympic Gold medalists Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets at the World Cup Jumping Finals that was the highlight of their 2012 campaign.

In an absolutely thrilling jump-off, Flexible bested Nino Des Buissonnets by .64 seconds. It was the first time in 25 years that an American pair won the World Cup Final, and with that win Flexible jumped into both record books, and the race for 2012 Horse of the Year.

Adding to the impressive nature of his accomplishments is Flexible's history of overcoming adversity. He is a smaller horse (16.0h)" with an unorthodox style, but Flexible grows wings when he steps into the show jumping arena. Twice he has suffered from career threatening injuries, but managed to rise again to prominence in the sport, with the exceptional guidance of Rich Fellers.

Flexible's resiliency and talent are undeniable, and for that he was recognized as the 2012 United States Equestrian Federation International Horse of the Year. For anyone that's seen him in action, his accomplishments were no surprise.

Flexible had first rocketed onto the international stage in the spring of 2008. He started that year by winning three $50,000 grand prixs in a row at Thermal in California. This prepared him for the Rolex FEI World Cup Final in Sweden. He seemingly came out of nowhere at the World Cup and jumped to second overall against the world's best"”a huge accomplishment.

Flexible then took his campaign north of the border and was successful at Spruce Meadows in Calgary all summer long. In June of 2008, he won a grand prix at the CSI Four- Star, and in July, he won the Pengrowth Cup at the CSI five-star. That same year he represented the U.S. as an integral part of the FEI Nations Cup team. There the U.S. won what is considered to be one of the most prestigious Nations Cups in the world, the CSIO five-star.

Getting to the level of success that Flexible has seen was not without struggle. Purchased by Mollie and Harry Chapman for Rich Fellers to ride in 2004, Flexible soon suffered from a blocked vein in his right front leg. The blockage took nearly a year to diagnose, and there was serious doubt that he would ever jump again, let alone at the very highest level. Fast forward to 2006, and Flexible's career almost ended a second time. He sustained a serious injury to the nerve and bone in his left shoulder, but through good care and common sense, Flexible defied the odds again and returned to defy gravity.

"The first few miles on the road to success were a little bumpy...but once the road smoothed out, I have to say it was a hell of a ride and I sure hope it's not over," said Chapman, echoing a sentiment felt by all of Flexible's fans.