The reigning world champion said that the decision was not an easy one given the circumstances and emotions involved, but that she will ride the horse in Benjamin’s memory.
“Ben was not only a colleague, but also a very good friend,” she said. “At the request of the Winter family I am taking on Ispo. Ben was always convinced of this horse. I will do everything with Ispo in his name and in his spirit.”
Benjamin had taken on the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding as a five-year-old from the Warendorf stable. The pair made smooth progress through the levels, coming eighth at Boekelo CCI3* in 2012, winning the CIC2* at Luhmühlen in 2013 and going on to finish 18th at the European Championship in Malmo later in the year.
The combination were taking part in their first CCI4* at Luhmühlen when the accident happened.
Sandra, who was competing her top horse, Opgun Louvo, in the CIC3* at the time, withdrew from the competition after showjumping while in the lead because she was so upset about her friend’s death.
She and her family auctioned a training course earlier this month, which coincided with a sale of top event horses, which they host annually at their base in Ganderkesee, near Bremen. Proceeds went to the Benjamin Winter Foundation benefit, which campaigns for greater safety in competitions.
Ispo will be a third string to Sandra’s international bow. As well as Opgun Louvo the 27-year-old also has the Irish-bred The Blue Frontier to campaign. The 13-year-old gelding recorded several CIC3* top 10 placings last year, including finishing fourth at Renswoude.