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Aussie eventing legend Kibah Tic Toc dies at 36

Kibah Tic Toc and Matt Ryan on the cross-country at Barcelona.

Kibah Tic Toc and Matt Ryan on the cross-country at Barcelona.

Old age has claimed Kibah Tic Toc, whom Matt Ryan rode to double eventing gold for Australia at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Kibah Tic Toc with his owner, the late Bridget ‘Bud’ Hyem, on Boxing Day, 2011.

Kibah Tic Toc with his owner, the late Bridget ‘Bud’ Hyem, on Boxing Day, 2011. © James Hyem

Kibah Tic Toc died on Monday at the age of 36, only months after the death of his owner and breeder, Australian Olympian Bridget “Bud” Hyem.

Kibah Tic Toc was euthanised as a result of old age at his home on Kibah Station, Gunnedah. He will be buried there and a memorial is to be erected.

Going into the showjumping phase at Barcelona, New Zealand was leading by eight rails, and the teams position appeared unassailable. After Andrew Nicholson and Spinning Rhombus knocked down nine rails, Ryan and Tic Toc could afford only one rail to clinch gold for Australia. Jumping was their weakest phase but the combination came through, dropping just the final rail to assure an Australian victory.

It started a ‘golden era; for Australia, which went on to win again at Atlanta in 1996 and in Sydney in 2000.

In his second to last start in Britain with Ryan, Tic Toc finished second in the CCI4* at Badminton in 1995. He was by the hanoverian stallion Domherr (by Doemitz I) and out of throughbred mare Sandrift, by Big Hat, who was sired by the Hyperion son High Hat.

Tic-Toc returned to Australia in 1999 and in 2000 Bud took him out of retirement to ride in the Olympic torch relay before the Sydney Games. Before he became an Olympic horse Tic-Toc was ridden by Bud’s daughter Lisa who competed with him at local pony Club gymkhanas and jamborees. The bloodlines of Tic-Toc and Sandstone date back to a ‘little black mare’ whom Bud’s father purchased from a drover for two shillings.

In 2000, Tic Toc’s half brother, Kibah Sandstone, was ridden to gold by Ryan. It is believed that Hyem is the only person to have bred two Olympic gold medal winning horses.

Tic Toc was both on October 27, 1877. According to Hyem’s son, James Hyem, the horse was named “after mum spent many hours in a car in the paddock waiting for the mare to foal, watching her watch – ‘tick tock’.”

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