Orion’s international story began with Pia Fortmüller’s former coach, Leslie Reid. Leslie trained Orion up to the Grand Prix, and amongst their successes, Leslie Reid represented Canada with Orion at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.
After Orion’s Olympic debut he was put on the market to be sold. He was sent to Europe the fall of 2009 during the same time Pia also moved to Europe to continue her training. It was during this time the two began a partnership, and as fate would have it Pia purchased Orion.
Orion & Pia
Orion opened the door to Pia’s International Grand Prix career, taking them to places and reaching goals Pia had always dream of. Although Orion was a very spooky horse, he knew his stuff and Pia was able to give him the confidence he needed to perform his best, which made them the perfect team. With Orion, Pia was able to successfully ride her first Grand Prix at the age of 25.
Over the next four years of their partnership, they went on to compete very successfully at the International Grand Prix level in Europe. With their successes, Orion took Pia all the way to the Canadian Senior Team and they were named the reserve combination for the 1012 Olympic Dressage Team in London. They also continued to perform very successfully at the International Grand Prix Level in 2013. Just a month before his death, Pia and Orion had just won the Grand Prix at a big CDI in Europe.
Orion’s Light Will Shine On
Pia’s Farewell to Orion:
Orion: April 30th, 1996 – January 19th, 2014
It was a very tough day for me what I had to announce that Orion, my teammate, my star, my warrior had passed. Orion was still in top form right up to his last day and it was a shock to absolutely everyone how suddenly he left us, but a tumour had cut the circulation off to his intestines.
We attempted surgery and right before the operation began I asked for one last moment with Orion, and when I looked him in the eye, Orion let me know that his time had come. Anyone who spends so much time with their four-legged partner knows that over time a connection can develop so strong that words are not needed to communicate.
It was in that I knew that I had to let my teammate, my anchor, go. As I closed my eyes and gave Orion one last kiss I had only one thought that I wanted to share with him, “Thank you”.
Thank you, Orion for being the best teammate anyone could ask for. Thank you for opening up a world of possibilities for me and most of all, thank you for showing me that dreams really can come true.
“Every time I look up at the stars at night my eyes immediately search for the star constellation “Orion”, which is distinguished by “Orion’s Belt”, and I know that when I look up there I will find my very own warrior who will forever rest in peace amongst the stars.
Orion Cup Champions
It is because of the opportunities that Orion gave Pia that she feels so passionate about carrying forward his memory in the Orion Cup. Pia rode her first Grand Prix at the age of 25, which was made possible because of her amazing teammate, Orion.
In his honour, Pia hopes to continue to inspire Canada’s young dressage talents. The Orion cup was officially established in 2016 and every year the Champions win a cash prize of $1000 dollars, as well as, a beautiful Champion jacket and Champion therapy stable blanket for their equine partner.
The goal of the Orion Cup is to help support Canada’s young Grand Prix riders on their way to international success. As the Orion Cup continues to grow, it would be amazing if it were possible for the Orion Cup Champion to be given the opportunity to ride at the Royal Winter Fair, potentially as a demo rider. This would significantly add to the Overall Championship prize by giving them an amazing opportunity to ride in such an inspiring venue.