Jasper, the individual gold medalist at the 2006 FEI World Carriage Driving Championships for Drivers with Disabilities with Diane Kastama, died on Oct. 24 after being struck by a car. He was 13.
Jasper, a sec. D Welsh Cob, was an icon in the driving world and known and respected by horsemen from many disciplines.
Kastama met Jasper, along with his tandem and pairs partner, Rupert, at the 2004 World Carriage Driving Championships For Drivers with Disabilities in Scotland when she borrowed Jasper for the competition. After falling in love with him, she bought the pair and imported them to the United States where they successfully competed in combined driving events all over the country.
The athletic bay and his partner traveled all over the world and drove in the closing ceremonies of the 2006 World Equestrian Games (Germany) to represent the Fédération Equestre Internationale’s most recent discipline addition, para-equestrian. They’ve also put on demos in the United States, including in front of spectators at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.
Kastama, who was the Chronicle’s 2006 Driving Horseman of the Year, described Jasper as a quiet horse who thrived on performing center stage. “Once I get in the carriage, it’s like he has this go button,” she said. “He becomes a completely different animal with all of this talent and charisma.”
Jasper and Rupert both escaped from their parked horse trailer on Oct. 24, but Rupert wasn’t struck by a car during the accident. He’s currently at Kastama’s home farm in Arroyo Grande, Calif., where veterinarians expect him to make a full recovery.