Former Canadian Show Jumping Team horse Mill Creek Raphael died on Dec. 27, 2015, at the age of 25.
Owned by Phil Henning of Mill Creek Stables in Cambridge, ON, before being donated to Equine Canada in 2003, Mill Creek Raphael was a bay Hanoverian gelding (Raphael x Gluecksstern) born in Germany in 1990. Bred by Anton Zimmermann Waghausel and discovered by Hans Holtzner, both of Germany, Mill Creek Raphael was purchased by Henning as an eight-year-old. He originally showed under Thomas Schonig, also of Germany, before Henning imported Mill Creek Raphael to Canada in 1999.
Once on Canadian soil, Mill Creek Raphael was put in training with Juergen von Buttlar with Eric Lamaze as the rider. Lamaze and Mill Creek Raphael formed an incredible partnership, capturing grand prix wins across the country. In 2000, the pair won the Canadian Show Jumping Championship title at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB, before being named to the Canadian Show Jumping Team for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games (Lamaze did not compete). In 2002, Mill Creek Raphael made his major games debut at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, where Canada placed tenth overall. In 2003, Lamaze and Mill Creek Raphael again won the Canadian Show Jumping Championship title, this time on home ground at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON, under the ownership of Equine Canada.
“Raphael was a great horse,” said Lamaze, who is now based in Wellington, FL, and Vranese, Belgium. “I was lucky enough to ride him for Phil, and we had a lot of fun times and great wins together.”
Following a five-year career at the top level of show jumping sport, Mill Creek Raphael was retired to Beasley Farms in Schomberg, ON. There, he enjoyed 10 years of retirement alongside several of Lamaze’s other grand prix mounts, including Cagney and Espresso Tyme.
“Raphael was a horse that gave us many exciting moments; he was a real winner,” said Henning. “He was big, had a lot of scope, and was very fast. I remember a time during a grand prix in Wellington when he had to circle at a jump, and yet he still made the time allowed and finished in the top three. It was an exciting time, and Raphael was the top money winner in Canada for several years during the height of his career. He was truly a once in a lifetime horse.”