Star stallion: Arko III

By: Horse Deals

Star stallion: Arko III

All about the Hales’ family’s legendary showjumper Arko III...

About Arko III

Owned by John, Pat and Lisa Hales

Born: 1994

Colour: Bay

Height: 16.2hh

Studbooks: BWB and AES

Breeding: By Argentinus (Hanoverian) out of Unika (Oldenburg) by Beach Boy (Oldenburg)

Bred by Mr Schuett, Enge-Sande, Germany

Bloodlines and competition record

Described by former rider Nick Skelton as "one of the best horses I have ever ridden", Arko’s sire the multi-graded Hanoverian stallion Argentinus is acknowledged to be the best son of his sire Argentan and has already sired more than 400 showjumpers and 190 dressage horses in Germany, as well as 27 graded sons worldwide.

His dam Unika, an Oldenburg mare that also produced several full siblings to Arko III, including a full brother, Arko ESI, who was the highest priced foal sold at auction in Germany at €130,000.

Unika is by elite KWPN stallion, Beach Boy, who sired several international show jumpers, and international eventers Feldschwalbe and Beach Star.

During his phenomenally successful international career with Nick, which earned him legendary status, Arko III won the Dubai Classic, the Rome, Lucerne and Cannes grands prix and the Estoril Global Champions tour grand prix. He competed at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and, in 2007, was crowned KBIS British Equestrian Insurance Show Jumper of the Year for an unprecedented fourth year.

Previously ridden by Andrew Saywell and Robert Whitaker, the stallion proved the inspiration to fire Nick’s ambition to compete again after suffering a near fatal injury in which he broke his neck in 2000.

"At the time, I already knew Arko would be a fantastic horse," he said, "and my initial motivation was really to be able to compete with such a good horse. I was very lucky having such loyal owners in John, Pat and Lisa Hales." 

Lisa recalls the early days:

"We bought him in the March of his sixth year," she says. "I was in Spain jumping and Nick showed me a video of him and asked if we'd buy him. I called my Dad and the video was then sent to him. As soon as he saw him it was arranged for Nick and my Dad, along with our vet David Jagger to travel to Germany to see him.

"’Archie’ always showed he had it all from an early age, but of course you never know. However, he didn't disappoint -- he proved to be a machine -- no course was ever to big or difficult."

Arko III was retired from competition to stand at stud in 2008 – two years previously, the stallion tore a ligament near his navicular bone and took 10 months’ rest. Although he returned to form Arko was withdrawn from 2008 Olympic contention on veterinary advice.


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