“A star in the making”: Freak cross-country injury claims eventing mare’s life

Solaguayre California and Tamie Smith during the dressage phase of the CCI5*-L at Luhmühlen.
Solaguayre California and Tamie Smith during the dressage phase of the CCI5*-L at Luhmühlen. © Luhmühlen Horse Trials/Annette Doelger

Argentine-bred eventing mare Solaguayre California has been euthanised after sustaining an injury on the cross-country at the Luhmühlen Horse Trials in Germany earlier this month.

With US rider Tamra (Tamie) Smith, Solaguayre California had hit the C element while jumping clear out of the water in the five-star long format event, and was pulled up after the next jump. It was the mare’s debut at the highest level.

It was revealed that the 12-year-old had sustained a slab fracture to her knee.

“Initially the assessment of her recovery was favorable as we stopped when we did and it seemed to be a simple fix,” Smith said.

The Argentine sport horse mare underwent surgery, but “it has turned out much more extensive and the damage was irreparable,” Smith said on Friday.

“I find comfort knowing we were able to get her to the best surgeon with the best medical team. There were so many amazing people who helped facilitate this and no stone was unturned on trying to find a perfect plan to having her make a full recovery.

“California was a star in the making and showed the world, especially this season how incredibly gifted she was. Our hopes and dreams for her were so high,” Smith said.

Solaguayre California was bred in Argentina from predominantly Holsteiner lines at the Solaguayre Stud, by Casparo and from the Casall Ask mare Solaguayre Calandria. She was owned by Julianne and David Guariglia.

Smith and Solaguayre California finished in the top five in their previous three four-star (short-format) starts this season, and in their final outing last season won the Morven Park International CCI4*-L in Virginia, in October 2022.

» Horse and rider eventing fatalities

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