Chronicle of the Horse: Photo by Bernadette Palmeri
Sparky was injured in January of 2012 and came completely sound in May. He joined me in the UK as my fourth qualifying horse, just in case all my other three horses came up lame for the Games. Although he wasn’t ideally competition ready, in a pinch I trusted he would have run the Greenwich course for me without any second thoughts.It was a contingency plan, in case the absolute worst were to happen, i.e. all three qualified horses (Leon, Jazz, and Paddy) were injured…. and it’s been known to happen.
After the Olympics we had several inquiries whether Sparky was for sale. My mom and I felt that he deserved to have a full 18 months of rest and light work in order to minimise a re-injury. It was Sparky who gave me the confidence to ride at the 3 and 4 star and I feel that I owe my Olympic success to him. He would also be available for me should I decide that I could not shake the “eventing bug”.
After a year at Stanford, where the academic is quite intense and requires my undivided attention, I know for sure now that I am happy to leave eventing behind. I vicariously followed the sport through Eventing Nation and had moments when I wish I was still in the fray. I miss the riding and partnership with my horses, but I must admit that I am happy to be free of the stress that comes with such lofty goals!
Mom and I debated various options for Sparky and concluded that he would want to have a shot at the 4 star. When we set the $$ question aside , I felt that Kim would give him the best ride. So Mom made the definitive decision to simply give him to Kim. I owe my Olympic success to Kim and am forever grateful to the USA where I competed and came up through the ranks as a Young Rider. So hopefully, with all fingers crossed, he will go on to ride under the US flag at WEG and Rio!
Good luck Kim and Sparky. Mom and I will come and cheer you on at Rolex 2014