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In Memoriam of H&M Chilli Willi

I just recently came across this handsome, bay stallion, while doing a random search of top European riders and their mounts. Of course, the name caught my attention first. What a silly name for a stallion! But one look at this stunning, bay stud-muffin immediately silences any guffaws. I watched a YouTube documentary on the Philipaerts twins and their string of Grand Prix show jumpers. Of their mounts, Nicola Phillipaerts’ horse, H&M Chilli Willi, stood quite literally a head above the crowd. He had a noble face- dark bay with a blaze that ran the length of his head to his lips. His build was a rectangular frame, a deep shoulder and lovely neck to a broad jaw. His hind end was strong with an open hip and long gaskin. But his presence was palpable even through the small screen of the YouTube video. I took a mental note, this was a stallion I would watch for in the future.

On March 27, I did a double take on the Instagram post by World of Show Jumping announcing the tragic death of my new stallion crush. What???? But we just met (virtually)! I was thrown back to thinking of the untimely death of another past stallion crush, Chacco Blue. Such talent and bloodline potential lost just as they were becoming known.

I can only imagine the loss his rider must feel. As I understand it, Chilli Willi was Nicola Philipaerts mount he was aiming for the Tokyo Olympics. His trip from Belgium to Wellington was intended as a stepping stone in that direction. Tragically, Chilli Willi stumbled after finishing a round and apparently broke his left foreleg beyond repair. Heartbreaking!

Chilli Willi has been Nicola Philipaerts’ ride since 2015, the same year he also began his stud career. Their career highs have included wins in 2018 at the CSI5* in Chantilly and a 2nd and 3rd at CSI 5* in Doha. They also represented Belgium at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

The stallion was born in 2008 in the Friesian Islands off Northern Germany, but was sold as a foal to the Verband der Züchter des Holsteiner Pferdes. Not only was he by the remarkable jumper sire, Casall ASK; his dam, Caletta VIII provided for a damline hefty in 1.45m and above offspring. Chilli Willi carried over 50% thoroughbred blood, with a double dose of Cor de la Bryere on both sides, Lord who was predominantly thoroughbred, balanced with the influence of Landgraf through his sire.

As of 2021, Chilli Willi has had 5 crops of offspring. Before his death, two youngsters had sold at auction in 2021. A foal sold for €28,000 and a 3 year old stallion out of Vienna by Camus sold for €15,000. The 3 year old stallion, Spirit van hey Leliehof’s dam, Vienna came from a strong dam line for grand prix level jumpers. I watched his video on the auction’s website. He seemed to show the solid power and technique of his sire in the free jump video, with a similar rectangular build and shoulder to neck connection of his father.

I am very sad to hear of the passing of Chilli Willi and send condolences to his connections. I believe his potential as a contributor to future generations ended far too early and I will keep a sharp eye on his offspring at the auctions.

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