US showjumper McLain Ward has donated two cooler rugs worn by his famous mount Sapphire, to be auctioned to raise funds for the Omega Horse Rescue Fund in Pennsylvania.
One of the rugs, from the 2008 American Invitational championship, is particularly special, as Sapphire died in 2014 and the event has not been held since 2015. The cooler is in the scarlet Budweiser colors.
The American Invitational was first held in the old Tampa Stadium in 1973.
The second rug is the 2009 Farnam Platform USEF Horse of the Year finalist cooler, awarded to Sapphire. That year, McLain and the powerful Belgian Warmblood mare won the $1 million CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in Canada, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and World Cup Qualifier (Hampton Classic), the $400,000 FTI Finale Grand Prix CSI Five-Star (Winter Equestrian Festival) and the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon.
Bids can be made here.
Omega Horse Rescue has been actively involved in equine rescue since the early 1980s, becoming a non-profit organisation in 1997. More than 100 horses go through its gates every year, and the operation strives to find homes for each horse, donkey or mule that it is involved with.