Sapphire, the mare McLain Ward rode to team gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and team silver at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, is on the mend.
Sapphire suffered a strained check ligament in her right front in late March, and Ward announced that she would sit out the remainder of the 2011 season. He’s aiming to have her back in action for the 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
“She looks amazing, knock on wood,” Ward said. “She’s been 100 percent sound since one week after the injury. She’s in about 3/4 work now, just on the flat. To be honest, we’ve been very conservative on the amount of work she’s done. We probably could have pushed her harder, but we haven’t. She’ll start working a bit harder in August. We’re going to try to have her very fit and ready for next season and aim her for the Olympic trials. After a year out of the sport, we’ll have to prove that she’s capable at the level.”