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By Pat Payne

Thoroughbred stallion Coconut Grove is a horse with an amazing story, complete with exotic tropical locations and full of dramatic moments and improba- ble plot twists. “It was the experience of a life- time,” says his former owner Tamara Smith. “We all want to believe stories like this can really happen. I know they can.”

If you breed jumpers or event horses, you’re probably already familiar with this amazing stal- lion. Yet there are many sport horse fans that haven’t even heard his name before. Coconut Grove is approved as a breeding stallion by 18 Warmblood registries around the world, including nine in the United States, seven in Europe and one in Canada. He was the first Thoroughbred stallion to receive a breeding license by the American Hanoverian Society and the first and only Thoroughbred to be granted “Improvement Sire” status by the American Holsteiner Horse Association. That’s a long way from the day when he was purchased by a Salt Lake City breeder, only to discover that he did not have valid Jockey Club papers and was, in official terms, simply a grade horse.

Latin Roots

Coconut Grove was bred in Colombia and began his show

jumping career in South America, where he quickly demonstrated his talent and drive. In 1993, as a six year old, he won Colombia’s Young Horse Competition. The following year, he took the reserve championships in both the Colombian National Junior Championship and the

country’s Young Rider Championship. Ridden by his amateur owner, he had many open jumping wins.

The Thoroughbred stallion Coconut Grove. Photo courtesy of October Hill Farm.

By 1996, professional rider German Camargo began working with Coconut Grove. He moved the horse up to Grand Prix and the pair soon proved themselves at this level, taking the championship at Peru’s Bolivarianos Games and Colombia’s Year End National Champion Jumper title in 1997. In 2000, he came to the United States to com- pete – Camargo and Coconut Grove’s former owner and rider, now

married, brought the horse to compete at the U.S. Open Jumper Championships in Miami.

It was the $100,000 U.S. Open Jumper Championships in which Coconut Grove took third that secured his competitive reputation, Tamara recounts. Competing in Miami was a struggle for his owners, she says, since they were newly arrived in the United States and short of cash and equipment. Still, they competed successfully despite those limitations, she continues, making do and going without for the good of their horse. “I think it was worth it for them,” Tamara continues. “It’s what truly jumpstarted German’s training career here in the United States.”

Bold Choices

Tamara is a Salt Lake City breeder who specializes in

Thoroughbred sport horses. She was convinced that the combination of Damascus and Bold Ruler bloodlines cre-

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