Five-star horse due to compete at Kentucky retires owing to heart murmur

  • A five-star horse who had been due to compete at the Kentucky Three-Day Event this week (22-25 April) has been retired from top-level competition after he was found to have a heart murmur.

    Canadian rider Holly Jacks-Smither’s 16-year-old gelding More Inspiration, known as Morris, was found to have the heart condition when being checked by onsite vets at Kentucky, and he was withdrawn before the start of the competition.

    Yesterday (21 April) Holly said she had made the hard decision to retire her “best friend”.

    “After running more tests the decision was made to end his upper level career,” she said.

    “Morris, thank you for being my constant. You have been with me through thick and thin. You took me from a gallop girl to a five-star event rider.”

    Based in Toronto, Holly bought the former racehorse as a youngster for 2,000 Canadian dollars (£1,150) as a show prospect. The pair have been competing at FEI level since 2012; they were part of the Canadian team at the 2015 Aachen Nations Cup leg, and qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics. In 2018 they completed their first Kentucky Three-Day Event, and the following year were 12th at Pau Horse Trials in France. Last month they were fourth in the CCI4*-S at Aiken, South Carolina.

    Continued below…

    “You taught me that five-star horses don’t need to be fancy and well bred. They can have crooked legs, sway backs and huge hearts,” said Holly.

    ‘To say I’m totally heartbroken is an understatement, however I am so thankful that the team at Kentucky found this and he is going to be ok. Thank you to everybody who has been part of this 13-year journey, what a wild ride it has been!”

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