Gigolo FRH

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Gigolo FRH
Breed Hanoverian
Sire Graditz (Hanoverian)
Grandsire Grande (Hanoverian)
Dam Bunette (Hanoverian)
Maternal grandsire Busoni (Thoroughbred)
Sex Gelding
Foaled 1983
Country Germany
Colour Liver Chestnut
Breeder Horst Klussmann
Gigolo FRH
Medal record
Summer Olympics
Gold 1992 Barcelona Team dressage
Gold 1996 Atlanta Individual dressage
Gold 1996 Atlanta Team dressage
Gold 2000 Sydney Team dressage
Silver 1992 Barcelona Individual dressage
Silver 2000 Sydney Individual dressage
World Championships
Gold 1994 The Hague Individual dressage
Gold 1994 The Hague Team dressage
Gold 1998 Rome Individual dressage
Gold 1998 Rome Team dressage
European Championships
Gold 1991 Donaueschingen Individual special dressage
Gold 1991 Donaueschingen Team dressage
Gold 1993 Lipica Individual special dressage
Gold 1993 Lipica Team dressage
Gold 1995 Mondorf Individual dressage
Gold 1995 Mondorf Team dressage
Gold 1997 Verden Individual dressage
Gold 1997 Verden Team dressage

Gigolo FRH[1] (1983 – 23 September 2009) was a liver chestnut Hanoverian gelding, ridden for Germany by Isabell Werth in dressage competitions. During their competition career, the pair won four gold and two silver medals at Olympic games, four world championships, eight European championships, and four German championships. He was euthanized in 2009 after being injured, but is known today as history's most successful dressage horse.

Early life[edit]

The liver chestnut Hanoverian gelding was bred in 1983 by Horst Klussmann. His sire was Graditz and his dam was Bunett (his dam's sire was Busoni xx). In 1989, Werth's then-trainer Uwe Schulten-Baumer purchased Gigolo.[2]

Competitive career[edit]

Gigolo and Werth competed in their first Olympic Games in 1992 at the Barcelona Games. There, the pair took an individual silver, while helping the German team to a gold medal. At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, they repeated the team performance, while improving to take the individual gold medal. In 2000, at the Sydney Games, the helped the German team to a third gold medal, while again taking the individual silver. After the Sydney Games, Werth replaced Gigolo with Satchmo as her Olympic horse, although the pair didn't compete until the 2008 Games.[3] Gigolo and Werth also competed in two World Equestrian Games. The first, the 1994 The Hague Games, resulted in both individual and team gold for the pair, as did the second, the 1998 Rome Games.[2]

In 1991, Gigolo made his European Dressage Championship debut at Donaueschingen, Germany, where he and Werth took both individual and team gold. They repeated this double gold feat three times – in 1993 at Lipicia, Slovenia; in 1995 at Mondorf, Luxembourg; and in 1997 at Verden, Germany.[4] He was also a four-time national dressage champion in Germany.[5] During his frequent musical kur performances, Gigolo was known for his elasticity – the pair's signature move was a transition from an extended canter directly to a pirouette.[6]

Gigolo was officially retired at the Stuttgart German Masters competition on October 24, 2000.[2]


On September 23, 2009, Gigolo was euthanized after being injured and experiencing a rapid decline in health. Werth described him as "my friend, schoolmaster and comrade. His reliability and willingness to work were two of his extraordinary traits."[2] During his competitive career, he won 883,918 DM in prize money.[7] Based on his monetary success and competition record, Gigolo is known as "the most successful dressage horse of all time."[2]


  1. ^ Usually shortened to just "Gigolo". The abbreviation FRH stand for "Hannoveraner Förderverein" (Hanoverians-supporting society); see the society's website
  2. ^ a b c d e "Gigolo Passed Away". Eurodressage. September 23, 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  3. ^ "Isabell Werth". Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  4. ^ "History of the European Championships". Eurodressage. August 30, 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  5. ^ "Gigolo is Dead at Age 26". Dressage News. September 24, 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  6. ^ Gallo, Terry Ciotti (2011). "Let the Show Begin". United States Dressage Federation. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  7. ^ "Bye Bye Gigolo – Germany's Greatest to Retire". Eurodressage. November 17, 2000. Retrieved 2012-05-29.