Lexington, KY - The United States Equestrian Federation mourns the loss of the great show jumping mare Sapphire who died on June 22, 2014 following complications from colic. With longtime rider, McLain Ward, the 1995 Belgian Warmblood mare was a stalwart of U.S. Jumping Teams for years helping the United States to capture Team Gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and Team Silver at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games.
"Sapphire epitomized a great mare, and if you have a great mare; you have a great horse," remembered legendary horseman and former U.S. Show Jumping Chef d'Equipe George Morris. "She was the anchor of so many U.S. teams; she had the scope, she was careful, I can't say enough good things about her. She was one of the greatest horses of the century."
In addition to great team successes, Ward and "Sara" earned top honors in many of the world's most prestigious competitions and Grand Prixes, including a second-place finish at the 2009 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas. The duo twice claimed victory in the FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix (2009, 2010), the Grand Prix of Devon (2007, 2009), the Hampton Classic Grand Prix (2009, 2010), and the President's Cup at the Washington International Horse Show (2008, 2010). Sapphire's extensive resume also includes wins at the 2008 Budweiser Invitational, 2009 $1 Million CN International at Spruce Meadows, 2010 La Baule Grand Prix, 2010 Rome Grand Prix, and 2010 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix.
"Our entire Castle Hill family and every person she has touched has lost a great friend. Thank you Sara not just for all the dreams you made come true but simply for being who you were," said Ward. "You always will be my champion in every way. Godspeed, good friend."
The USEF extends its deepest condolences to Ward, Castle Hill Farm team and all of Sapphire's owners throughout her storied career; Tom Grossman, Blue Chip Bloodstock, McLain Ward, Double H Farm, Missy Clark and Harry Gill.
McLain Ward and Sapphire at the 2008 Olympic Games (Bob Langrish)
A tribute to Sapphire following her retirement in May 2012.