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May 6, 2013

Updated: Damian Gardiner Loses Battle With Cancer

Irish Olympic show jumper Damian Gardiner was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in May and underwent treatment. Gardiner passed away on Sept. 11. 

Gardiner, 44, began riding as a child in Ireland and worked with show jumping pioneer Iris Kellett. He spent five years with Kellett before moving to San Diego at age 20 to pursue his riding career, accumulating grand prix wins at various national and international competitions. In 1996, Gardiner was part of the Irish Olympic show jumping team aboard the stallion Arthos. 

One of Gardiner’s most recent grand prix mounts, Flexing, is a full sister to the Irish Sport Horse Flexible (Cruising—Flex, Safari), the 2012 winner of the Rolex FEI/World Cup (Germany) with Rich Fellers.

Gardiner and partner Jenny Carbonari ran Gardiner Show Jumping in San Marcos, Calif. She’s still heading up efforts to raise money to pay for transporting Gardiner home to Ireland. To help, please visit

"He was an inspiration in the way he handled his time with his illness," said Carbonari. "He kept a smile on his face never complained and showed great bravery. It is his wish to be buried in Ireland with his family. It is the last thing to be accomplished in Damian's fundraising and journey. I am looking to raise $6500 approximately for transportation expenses. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey and been so wonderful."