Coeur, the top ride of show jumper John Renwick, is the latest in a wave of top British show jumping horses to be sold abroad.
The grey gelding has been purchased by Hunter Harrison, an American, for a figure reputed to be in excess of £1 million.
Formerly owned by Julia Biddle, the eight-year-old German-bred Coeur accumulated £27,500 in prize-money during 2003 and had already amassed winnings of £17,000 between February and April this year.
Harrison has bought the horse for McLain Ward, recently announced as part of the US Olympic team for Athens. Harrison, a new owner for Ward, is president and CEO of CN: North America’s Railway. Coeur will initially be ridden by Harrison’s daughter, Cayce, with Ward taking over the ride after the Olympics.
“The money wasn’t an issue for Julia. We wanted to keep the horse for another year to jump in Nations Cup,” explains John, who has had the ride since September 2002. “But when Derek Ricketts [British team manager] confirmed at Royal Windsor that we weren’t picked for Lisbon – or anything else this year – we thought that we were wasting our time. It’s too expensive to keep a good horse as a pet and jump at county level.”
“It’s very sad, but you tempt fate if you turn down that kind of money,” says Julia. “But my idea was that he’d go to a top rider so I could see him on the telly.”