Young rider gold medal-winning eventer dies

  • Skylight, the mare who won a young rider team gold medal with Georgie Spence, died last week (15 February) aged 16.

    Having retired last year, Skylight had gone to live with Catherine Rye on Exmoor this year as a broodmare. She was due to go to stud in two weeks’ time, but passed away in the field before she could pass on her genes.

    “It’s sad as I’d been discussing potential stallions for her with Catherine,” said Georgie.

    “For me, she was the horse who got me back on the young rider squad and finished fifth in the under-25s at Bramham. She was always in the top 10 in open intermediates and two-stars — she was Miss Consistent.

    “She was very quiet and easy and helped me a lot with the dressage as I had always had quite tense horses. She was so calm she gave me a lot of confidence in the arena.”

    Skylight was bred by the Gloucestershire-based Swiss rider and judge Christian Landolt. By Jumbo, she was out of the Mayhill mare Kiwi Girl and owned by Christopher Jenkin for much of her competitive career.

    She started eventing with Britain-based French rider Leonard Goerens, who competed her up to two-star level. She joined Georgie in 2008 and the pair won on their first run together, an open novice at Stilemans. They were part of the gold medal-winning British team and finished 14th individually at the young rider Europeans at Kreuth that season.

    The following year the pair were fourth in the CIC3* at Burnham Market, fifth in the under-25 CCI3* at Bramham and 15th at the young rider Europeans at Waregem, competing as individuals this time.

    After one more season with Georgie, Skylight spent 2010 with junior Jonny Betteridge, winning an open novice under-18 qualifier at Purston Manor. She then spent three more years with another under-18, Amelia Walker, competing at BE100 and open novice under-18 level.

    Skylight was a grade one elite mare with British Eventing (BE), with 298 BE points, and is the third highest ranked mare by Jumbo, after Headley Britannia and Allercombe Ellie.

    “She retired last year from eventing and came to live out her years with me as a broodmare on Exmoor with my other advanced mare Highley Sprung,” said Catherine Rye. “Sadly she didn’t live to pass on her amazing legacy — mares like this come along once in a decade.”

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