Carol Lavell purchased Gifted in 1984 as an untrained four-year-old from a German horse dealer. Within three years, the enormous 17.3 bay Hanoverian gelding (Garibaldi II out of Lola by Lornbard) was named USDF Horse of the Year at Fourth Level and Prix St. Georges. In 1988, Gifted was named USDF Horse of the Year at Intermediate I. Read more
The following year, Lavell brought Gifted out at Grand Prix and the pair made their debut on the European dressage circuit. Shortly after completing his tour, Gifted won an individual gold medal at the North American Dressage Championships in Canada.
In 1990, Gifted placed eleventh at the World Championships, and in 1991 he was USDF Horse of the Year at Grand Prix. Lavell and Gifted were the first Americans to win the Grand Prix at the Hermes International Dressage Show in Goodwood, England. At the 1992Volvo Dressage World Cup Final, Gifted was fourth.
One of the undisputed highlights of Gifted's dressage career came at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, where he and Lavell placed sixth individually and clinched the team bronze medal, breaking a twelve-year dry spell for the U.S. Olympic dressage squad. Two years later, at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Hague, Gifted helped the U.S. team bring home another bronze medal.
Described as noble, light on his feet, and a dressage hero, Gifted put the U.S. firmly back on Europe's radar as a serious dressage competitor and piaffed his way into America's heart.
In a 1997 Dressage & CT "Salute" to her legendary partner, who died in January of 1997, Lavell described Gifted as "a volunteer, with a cooperative spirit that keeps on giving."