Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023


William Booth

Amateur event rider William Booth died following an accident at the Senator Bell Farm Horse Trials in Chester, N.H., on Aug. 29. He was 51.
Mr. Booth, of Dover, Mass., worked as a patent lawyer in Boston. He owned four horses, two of whom were retired, and he had competed at the one-star level.



William Booth

Amateur event rider William Booth died following an accident at the Senator Bell Farm Horse Trials in Chester, N.H., on Aug. 29. He was 51.
Mr. Booth, of Dover, Mass., worked as a patent lawyer in Boston. He owned four horses, two of whom were retired, and he had competed at the one-star level.

“He was a wonderful man, and eventing meant so much to him,” said his friend and fellow competitor, Elizabeth Benney, who recalled Mr. Booth showing up at trainer Susie Gornall’s for 6:30 a.m. lessons every Wednesday for the last decade. “He was on cloud nine that day [at the event]. He went out on the crest of a wave.”

Mr. Booth is survived by his wife, Christy; sons Ian and Leighton; mother Barbara Anne Booth; and sister Susan Love.

Mind The Gap

Advanced event horse Mind The Gap, an Irish sport horse owned by Leeda and Ralph Fletcher and ridden by Peter Green, was humanely destroyed in mid-August.

“Ryan,” as he was called in the barn, had contracted Potomac horse fever and succumbed to founder during his protracted battle with the disease. He was 15.

The Irish-bred gelding, by Down The Hatch–Bill’s Idol, competed in England with Caroline Pratt before he was imported in 1996, by Sandy Cole and Green, of Upperville, Va. In 1997, Green and Ryan won the Radnor Hunt CCI* (Pa.).

Said Cole, “Ryan was a sensitive soul with a good heart, but you couldn’t bully him into anything. You had to work with him and compromise–that’s when he would try his hardest. He was always a joy to be around.”

In 1998 Green sold Ryan to the Fletchers, of Mt. Kisco, N.Y., and continued to ride him. In October of that year, they were 13th at Fair Hill CCI***. After being injured in the spring of 1999, he returned to Fair Hill to finish 17th. Next season, he began a four-year run at Rolex Kentucky CCI****, competing there from 2000 through 2003.

Ryan retired from eventing after the 2003 Rolex Kentucky CCI, when Leeda Fletcher decided to shift his focus to dressage.
They showed frequently before his advancing illness prevented him from further competition.


Istvan Sorenyi-Sander

Hungarian riding and driving master Capt. Istvan Sorenyi-Sander died on Sept. 12 in Aiken, S.C. He was 98.

Born in Csosztelek, Hungary (now part of Serbia), he began riding on the family’s estate at age 4. After obtaining a degree in agricultural engineering, he graduated from the Hungarian Military College at Eger. Immediately recognizing Sorenyi-Sander’s talent, the military sent him to the Royal Hungarian Riding and Driving Master School.

The youthful officer was selected in 1939 to join the national equestrian team that would have attended the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled by World War II. Instead, Capt. Sorenyi-Sander and his comrades in the Hungarian Mounted Gendarmarie marched to the Eastern Front, where they would spend the majority of the war.

At war’s end, he fled Hungary with his mounted squadron to Austria, evading the pursuing Russians. He wound up in the partitioned country’s British sector and joined with the British to re-establish order in the chaotic region.

Soon after, Sorenyi-Sander moved to England, where emissaries from the Venezuelan government recognized his talent and commissioned him to coach their burgeoning national equestrian team. While training in Caracas, he met and married his second wife, Susan, in the early 1960s. The pair moved to the United States in 1976, where he would continue to conduct clinics and coach a few select students in New York. The couple moved to Aiken in 1985.

In addition to his wife, survivors include children Istvan Sorenyi II and Judith Koren of Budapest, Hungary. Two sisters and one brother predeceased him. His first marriage to Ilona Gergelyffy ended in divorce.

A memorial celebration of his life will be held in November. Contact George Funeral Homes, Historic Downtown Chapel, 211 Park Ave. SW, Aiken, SC for further information.

Memorial donations may be made to Hitchcock Hospice, 690 Medical Park Dr., Aiken, SC 29801, the ASPCA, 401 Wire Rd. Aiken, SC 29801; or the Hooved Animal Humane Society, P.O. Box 400, Woodstock, IL 60098.


Sailing, the Irish Sport Horse eventing stallion owned by Roger Shelton and Jaime Price, was humanely destroyed on Sept. 23. While recovering from a fractured ankle, Sailing succumbed to a bacterial infection surrounding the injury.

Shelton and Price purchased Sailing in July 2003 from Stuart Black. Under Black, Sailing won CIC**s at Red Hills (Fla.) and at Morven Park (Va.). Last fall, Price competed Sailing at the Otter Creek Horse Trials (Wis.).


She recalled, “A lady whom I didn’t know volunteered to take him back while I was changing horses, and she was shocked when she discovered that he was a stallion. She and others around immediately inquired how on earth he could be so calm? Out of nowhere, we had all kinds of breeding interest.”

Price continued, “He was the sanest and most diligent horse I’ve ever seen. We’d try something new, and it was always like, ‘What’s next, Mom?’ “

“I’m not as strong as Stuart, but [Sailing] changed and finessed his ride to better suit me. He was so unbelievably talented. He showed me the ropes; he gave me confidence; he gave me more than any other horse.”

Black noted, “Sailing had such outstanding qualities, both as a competitor and as a young stallion. He was talented in all phases of competition. He was so willing over the cross-country, consistent in the jumping ring, and he became very fancy on
the flat.”

Added Black, “What really stood out was his demeanor. Sailing was always so trainable and so willing. Stallions can be very tricky to handle, but [Sailing] was second-to-none.”


Limbo, the dressage horse Mary Hanna of Australia rode in the Athens Olympics in August, was humanely destroyed on Sept. 18.
The 13-year-old gelding was in quarantine in Great Britain, on his way back to Australia from the Olympics, when he succumbed to a temperature and the subsequent complications of travel sickness.

A dedicated veterinary team at the quarantine station, as well at the Australian team veterinarian, Graham Potts, gave Limbo round-the-clock professional care, but his condition deteriorated drastically and left them no alternative.

Hanna and Limbo had been together since 1998 and competing internationally since 1999. They represented Australia
in dressage at the 2000 Sydney

Olympic Games, the 2003 World Equestrian Games at Jerez (Spain), and at the 2003 Open European Championships in Hickstead (England) before Athens. In Athens, Limbo and Hanna achieved their best-ever championship result, finishing 39th with a score of 65.50 percent.

Limbo was a Danish-bred by Lucky Light–Solo. K.H.




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