Showjumper Cyklon 1083 has beaten the odds to win a feature class for Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam at Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.
The Swedish warmblood’s win in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic on Friday marked his return to the winner’s circle after he survived a difficult year with illness and multiple surgeries.
The 15-year-old stallion (Cardento x Cortus) is a master of the speed rounds and has won competitions all around the world, but this summer Cyklon had two close calls with his health.
“Cyklon had a tough year,” Sweetnam said. “He nearly died twice in June. We went to Europe, and just before we were to go to Mannheim, he colicked and he had to go for surgery. Then a week later, he got an infection in the guttural pouch. It was totally not linked to the colic, but it is very serious and a lot of horses start to bleed out and can die from it.
“He was in the stall, and he was lucky that it was during the day because if it were during the night, he could have just bled out. We were in Belgium, and the clinic was only ten minutes away, so he got straight to the clinic. A specialist came in from France and did a couple of surgeries, and with the help of everyone there, he recovered. It is very rare. They do not know how it happens, but some horses just get it and a lot of horses do die from it,” Sweetnam said.
“Between the surgeries and everything, it took a long time for him to come back. He could not travel back to the US for a while. He was there in the clinic for three or four months – nearly the whole summer. Then he came back and did quarantine in October. Lucky enough, Spy Coast can do their own quarantine, so he did quarantine there. I started riding him again there towards the end of October and then I started showing him again the first week of December.”
Sweetnam said Cyklon felt good, despite being back in competition for only a short time. “I did a couple of smaller shows, and this is his second week at WEF and he has been placed in all four classes, so I think he is happy to be back. He is an unbelievable horse, but that just shows you how much of a winner he is and what a horse of a lifetime he is, especially in these divisions. He is just a great horse.”
There were 71 entries in the class, with 21 clear rounds, and Sweetnam and Cyklon went 66th in the order to take over the lead. The pair’s time of 55.76 seconds pushed Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S into second place on their round in 55.95 seconds. Adam Prudent (FRA), who took an early lead in 56.78 seconds, settled for third with Plain Bay Sales’ Vasco. Conor Swail (IRL) finished fourth aboard Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita with a time of 57.03 seconds, and Reed Kessler (USA) and Kessler Show Stables’ Ligist finished fifth in 57.71 seconds.
In addition to their winning prize money, Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 were presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week five, a special award presented by Laura Fetterman of Champion Equine Insurance.
“Cyklon has great style. He has great conformation, and he is a great horse. His technique is very good and obviously he is a beautiful looking horse when he is going around,” Sweetnam said.