Show Jumping Great Sapphire Retired

Sapphire, the Belgian Warmblood mare who carried McLain Ward (USA) to two Olympic Gold medals, has been retired from competition.

In 2011 the now 17-year-old mare strained a check ligament during training. Ward elected to give the mare the remainder of the competition year off to heal.

Sapphire had just returned to competition earlier this year when Ward broke his leg in a fall off another horse.

On May 14 Ward announced the mare's retirement on his Facebook page.

"While it is the end of her incredible career I refuse to be sad," Ward wrote. " 'Sara' is retiring healthy, happy, and at her best. I am so grateful that fate chose me as the one to be in her life, be her rider and partner as she blazed her trail into show jumping history. There will be times I will certainly miss her being by side when the pressure is on but when I think of her, all I have is incredible memories.

"It's been a hell of a run, filled with peaks and valleys, but I wouldn't have traded any of it for the world. Thank you Sara."

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. 

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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