A Sad Farewell to ‘Dream Catcher’ and ‘King of the South’ LV Balou Jeanz

Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz making dreams come true at Burghley. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Written by Cheg Darlington and Tilly Berendt.

We’re incredibly sad to report the passing of LV Balou Jeanz, ‘Dream Catcher’ and best friend of Australia’s Sarah Clark. In Sarah’s words, “How do you say goodbye to someone you can’t imagine life without? How do you thank a lost best friend who made your world whole and fulfilled your life’s purpose?”. Our thoughts go out to Sarah, co-owners Gill, Colin and Linda Clark and everyone who worked with, knew and loved Jeanz.

The 14-year-old gelding suffered an accident in the stables whilst at the FEI Nations Cup in Montelibretti, Italy in March. He was treated by on-site vets before being relocated to an equine veterinary clinic where he received further treatment to stabilize his injuries. He was transfered to Newmarket Equine Hospital in the UK where his wounds were found to have reopened and the difficult but necessary decision was made that it was in his best interests for him to be euthanized.

Sarah shared the devastating news on her Instagram account yesterday:

“Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

I have neither the words nor the heart to give him the goodbye and thank you he deserves. So for now Ill just briefly summarise the chain of events for those who’ve asked with as little emotion as possible.

LV Balou Jeanz suffered an accident in the stables at Montelibretti, sustaining deep lacerations to a hind leg and tendons. He was stabilised on site by the treating vets before we relocated him to an equine Veterinary clinic somewhere between midnight and 2am. I am so grateful to the help I received particularly that night but also the days and weeks that have followed. Thank you, all of you xxxx

It was evident to the surgeons who treated him that his injuries would be the end of his sporting career. Though devastated, the mission became to get him back to the uk, healed, then to a happy retirement as babysitter to my future young horses in Australia.

I’d been waiting for good news to share before posting anything, but it breaks my heart that none shall ever come as the situation only worsened. Upon arriving at Newmarket Equine Hospital UK, his wounds had reopened and because of their positioning over a joint, it was proving exceptionally hard for surgeons to immobilise and stabilise the injury. The likelihood of wounds reopening again and again was high. Not only that but given his highly strung nature, the likelihood of him causing further damage to himself while contained was a significant risk. In short, after numerous agonising discussions with vets, family, mentors and dear dear friends, it was decided it was not in his best interests – mentally or physically – to subject him to painful treatment and rehabilitation likely to lead to an uncomfortable retirement at best.


How do you say goodbye to someone you can’t imagine life without? How do you thank a lost best friend who made your world whole and fulfilled your life’s purpose?

I cannot.

So I simply say goodnight, my King, for in dreams we shall meet again ….”

In 2022, Sarah left her native Australia to embark upon a Great British 5* adventure with Jeanz, boarding the flight with no return ticket and no funds to buy one. The decision to chase her dream of competing at Badminton and Burghley came off the back of huge success with the gelding as he rocketed up the levels on his way to the top of the sport – in twelve CCI4* FEI runs, they were top 10 in seven of them, with two wins, one second, one third and one fourth place, proving what a special and talented event horse he was, and earning him Eventing South Australia’s Horse of the Year in 2018 and 2022.

His 5* debut came at Adelaide when he was just a 9-year-old, where he finished 12th.

On reaching British shores, Sarah and Jeanz were based with fellow 5* eventer David Doel and she set about crowdfunding her way to Badminton. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and she withdrew before the competition got underway as Jeanz wasn’t feeling 100%. But there was another big B on her bucket list and her dream came true when Jeanz finished just outside the top 20 at Burghley in 2022, returning last season to add another British 5* completion to this horse’s truly impressive record.

It’s a real blow to the sport to have lost such an exciting talent and devastating that we won’t again see him galloping across the country and fulfilling his potential. We’ll leave you with Sarah’s words: “Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”.

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