The retirement of two-time Olympic showjumping mare Sapphire has been announced by rider McLain Ward.
The 17-year-old Belgian warmblood mare was out of action in 2011 because of a strained check ligament. She returned to competition and was long listed for the 2012 US Olympic team, but Ward sustained an injury. The decision was made this week to retire her.
She won team gold with Ward at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
“Now that the news has broke of Sara’s retirement, I want to a take this opportunity to thank you all for your wonderful comments, many of which have made me teary eyed,” Ward said. “While it is the end of her incredible career, I refuse to be sad. 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 my side when the pressure is on but when I think of her, all I have is incredible memories. As I look back, all I can say is ‘how lucky were we’?”
At the 2010 World Cup jumping final, Sapphire was at the centre of a dispute over prohibited substances relating to leg swabs, and was eliminated from the event. She was later cleared.