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WoSJ Exclusive; A tribute to Sapphire!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

 Today McLain Ward’s super mare Sapphire will be officially retired at the Devon Horse Show. Sapphire has been one of the most successful horses on the international showjumping circuit for almost a decade, and has two Olympic gold medals to look back on. Here she is at the Olympics in Hong Kong in 2008 where she was on the winning US team. Photo by © Ken Braddick.

McLain and Sapphire at the 2007 World Cup final in Las Vegas. Sapphire was a very special lady, a perfect partner to the intesely competitive, but usually soft spoken and gentlemanly McLain Ward. Photo by © Ken Braddick.
Thank you for all the fantastic moments! Mc Lain and Sapphire in the Aachen Grand Prix. Photo by © Ken Braddick.
McLain and Sapphire in Aachen. When the news of Sapphire's retirement broke earlier this month McLain said: “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’?” Photo by © Ken Braddick.
Years before retirement, McLain said that Sapphire could retire any time --“she owes us nothing,“ he said. That was before some of her top wins. Now, it is time for a last time in the spotlight for the 17 year old Darco-mare. Here they are at Spruce Meadows. Photo by © Ken Braddick.
The partnership has been one of those incredible highlights in the history of the sport of jumping. Just the word that Sapphire might compete was enough to draw spectators, other riders and the media to a show grounds. Here they are at the Global Champions Tour in Florida - the only leg to be held on US soil. Photo by © Ken Braddick.
Sapphire competed all over the world during her career; here she is in La Baule. After all their success it’s hard to believe that McLain bought Sapphire, sight unseen and no veterinary examination, purely on the recommendation of a good friend. Photo by © Ken Braddick.
McLain Ward on Sapphire breathing a sigh of relief after the first round of the 2008 Olympics, where they claimed team gold. They also won Olympic team gold in 2004, World Equestrian Games team silver in 2006, took numerous Nations Cup victories, and had huge success in some of the world’s biggest Grand Prix classes. Photo by © Ken Braddick.
We felt fortunate to witness some of Sapphire’s most glorious moments in North America and Europe. Here they are on home soil at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Photo by © Ken Braddick.

Thanks to Ken Braddick/ for the wonderful photos and information about Sapphire and McLain.

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