“At Tattersalls [31 May-3 June], there were just some little things that pointed to him getting older,” Ruth told H&H. “He was fantastic in the dressage and showjumping, but he didn’t feel as supple as he used to. It wasn’t anything you could see from the outside, but I know him so well.
“We set off across country and there was a forward two strides between a double of tables, which normally he would make easily, but I had to really ride for it, although I had a cracking shot in. Then when we got to the water, he’s normally so good about jumping into water, but he wasn’t sure about the drop.”
Ruth pulled up Two Thyme after problems at this fence and has now decided it’s the right time to call it a day. Phil and Maureen Smith’s 18-year-old by Broadsword will stay at her new base near Uttoxeter.
“I owe a lot to him,” she said. “He’s such a talented horse and has done so much for my career.
“He’s not a horse who could compete at the lower levels – it’s all or nothing with him. You couldn’t give him to someone to compete at BE90 as they wouldn’t be able to get him to the dressage, let alone anything else. He is happy in the field and we might ride him occasionally.”
“Jasper” joined Ruth as a seven-year-old and he won the British intermediate championships in 2002 and was British open champion in 2004 and 2009.
He led the dressage several times at four-star and although the pair had a few high-profile problems across country, it all came together when they triumphed at Luhm ¼hlen in 2007. He was also a reserve for the Olympic team in 2008 until he incurred an injury which ruled him out.
Two Thyme collected 1248 BE points during his career, winning 23 times in all.
“Phil and Maureen have been fantastic owners and I’m lucky they have other horses with me,” added Ruth.
“He was already called Blacklaw Timelord, but the breeders agreed the spellling could be changed to Thymelord, so the Smiths have three horses with ‘Thyme’ in their names – it’s like it was meant to be,” said Ruth.