Mill Pearl, the mare ridden by Joe Fargis to the 1988 Olympic team silver medal in show jumping, died on Dec. 5, 2006. She was 27.
Bred in Millstreet, County Cork, Ireland at Noel Duggan’s Green Glass Farm, Mill Pearl (King Of Diamonds–Curran) started her show career with Irish rider Thomas Slattery. The pair qualified for the Dublin Horse Show when the mare was only 6. Soon after, she was sold to the United States, where Fargis became her trainer and rider for the remainder of her career. She was owned by Jane Burr, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Butler, Bradley Curry and Mary Schwab.
Following multiple wins as a preliminary jumper, Fargis moved her up to the intermediate level where she was champion at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show (Va.) and the Washington International (D.C.).
In early 1987, the 8-year-old Mill Pearl embarked on a European tour that included wins in Rome (Italy), Lucerne (Switzerland) and Cannes (France). In Aachen, Germany, that year, Fargis rode her as his anchor horse for the Nation’s Cup team and helped the United States earn victory.
After her third grand prix effort in the United States, she won the American Gold Cup at Devon (Pa.) and was jumper champion at the National Horse Show (N.Y.).
In 1988, with sights set on the Olympics, Fargis and Mill Pearl won the Tampa Grand Prix (Fla.) and the Devon Grand Prix as well as several other qualifiers for the team, including the Ox Ridge Grand Prix (Conn.).
At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Mill Pearl and Fargis placed seventh individually and earned team silver.
The following year, Mill Pearl won the qualifier and Grand Prix of Hickstead (England) before returning home to take the top honors in the Baltimore Grand Prix (Md.). Her efforts that year secured her a spot in the 1989 FEI World Cup Finals, where she finished fifth.
In 1990, Mill Pearl won the Grand Prix of Switzerland and was a member of the fourth-placed World Championship team.
In 1996, after placing second in the Hampton Classic Grand Prix (N.Y.), Mill Pearl was retired to Burr’s farm in Ocala, Fla. In 2002, she gave birth to a colt named Miraculous that is currently in training with Fargis.