‘He has left a huge hole in the yard’: British grand prix gelding dies aged 14

  • Tributes have been paid to Sunlit Uplands, the British grand prix gelding who was put down in late 2022, aged 14.

    Sunlit Uplands, aka “Jasper” was a son of Don Henrico, and competed internationally at grand prix for Dylan Deutrom. The pair were selected for the under-25 European Dressage Championships in the summer of 2022.

    “We found he had a small tendon injury just before the championships, so Dylan rode San Marco, who had also qualified, instead,” explained Matt Hicks, Dylan’s trainer. “We rested Jasper for two months, but he required minor surgery. Unfortunately he got a very rare infection and was so poorly that we had to let him go. It was nobody’s fault.

    “It was a big shock – he was an amazing horse,” added Matt.

    Jasper belonged to Sarah Warry, who bought him as a young horse from Klaus Munkedahl in Denmark, through Henriette Andersen and Ulrik Molgaard. He joined Matt’s yard in 2015, and Dylan took over the reins the following year, when he was 18.

    Together, Dylan and Jasper worked their way up to top level, making their grand prix debut in 2021, and competing at the national championships. In 2022, they were successful on the international under-25 circuit, with plan to step up to senior international level in 2023.

    Jasper’s last competition was a grand prix at Hunters Equestrian in July 2022, where he scored 67.39% for second.

    “Dylan learnt such a lot from riding him, as did I from training them,” said Matt. “He was not a horse who needed many shows, so they never did loads but it was amazing to have him selected for the Europeans.

    “He was always a kind, straightforward horse with no bad bone in his body and he always tried hard, even though he was a sensitive soul, too. He’s been a very influential horse for our yard and he has left a huge hole.”

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