Double Olympic Gold Medal Jumper Sapphire Passes

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McLain Ward riding Sapphire at the 2008 Olympic Games for their second team gold medal. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
McLain Ward riding Sapphire at the 2008 Olympic Games for their second team gold medal. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

June 22, 2014

Sapphire, the mare that McLain Ward rode to win two Olympic team gold medals for America, has died after a colic, at the age of 19 years.

The chestnut mare had been living at Blue Chip Bloodstock in Walkill, New York, about 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. The breeding farm was a co-owner with McLain of Sapphire.

McLain, who is based in Brewster, New York, rode the Belgian Warmblood (Darco x Hedjaz) to Olympic team gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as team silver at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany in 2006.

During their partnership–McLain bought Sapphire sight unseen and with no veterinary examination on the recommendation of his  friend Francoise Mathy–Sapphire was a stalwart of United States teams at numerous Nations Cup and won top Grand Prix in Europe and America.

She was retired two years ago to Blue Chip Bloodstock.

McLain Ward and Sapphire at Aachen, ermany. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
McLain Ward and Sapphire at Aachen, Germany. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

McLain said n a statement: “With a very heavy heart I have to share that Sara has passed away this morning due to complications from colic. Our entire Castle Hill family and every person she has touched has lost a great friend. Thank you Sara not just for all the dreams you made come true but simply for being who you were. You always will be my champion in every way. God speed good friend.”

At the 2007 World Cup Final in Las Vegas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
At the 2007 World Cup Final in Las Vegas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com