Show Jumping Great Sapphire Dies of Colic Complications

Show Jumping Great Sapphire Dies of Colic Complications

Sapphire and McLain Ward at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

McLain Ward's legendary show jumping mount Sapphire, who represented the United States on numerous occasions in international competition, has died. The Belgian Warmblood mare was 19.

"With a very heavy heart I have to share that 'Sara' has passed away this morning due to complications from colic," Ward said in a June 22 statement on his Facebook page. "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," he continued. "You always will be my champion in every way. God speed, good friend."

In a release from the United States Equestrian Federation, former U.S. Show Jumping Chef d'Equipe George Morris said, “Sapphire epitomized a great mare, and if you have a great mare you have a great horse. 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.”

Partnered with Ward, Sapphire won team Gold medals at the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Olympics, and a team Silver medal at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. She was officially retired from competition in 2012 due to a lingering ligament injury. 

Sapphire has two clones—Kidjaz BC and Kara BC—and has also produced two foals via embryo transfer.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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