We are devastated to report that Jaeda, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred mare owned by Kelly Morgan, collapsed and died on the CCI3* cross country course at the Pedigree Bromont CCI Three-Day Event in Quebec, Canada. Her rider, Booli Selmayr, was uninjured.
A post-mortem exam performed at the Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire St-Hyacinthe revealed that Jaeda suffered an acute diaphragmatic hernia. FEI Veterinary Delegate Ann Basket said, “An injury of this type could not have been foreseen and is very uncommon in equestrian sport.”
Booli shared the following statement:
“Jaeda was the horse of a lifetime. I remember the first time I took her Prelim and felt what it meant to gallop cross country. I remember her first Intermediate, and how it felt like nothing for her to skip over the tables and how much she loved lining up the combinations cross country. I remember her first Advanced and how genuinely thrilled she was sailing over the spreads and how she pinged over the wedges and skinnies.
“She absolutely loved her job. Not many of us get the opportunity to be paired with such a remarkable horse and I am so grateful that Jaeda found her way in to my life. Jaeda was the equestrian’s dream: a wild Thoroughbred mare with an incredible team of people who believed in her and she gave back every inch of herself. She was happiest at a competition.
“Thank you all for your wonderful texts, calls, message and emails. Let Jaeda remind everyone to never give up on the slightly hot-headed or unconventional. You might just have a Dragon Princess of your own.”
Bred by Heidi Bradford and John Gilchrist in British Columbia, Jaeda (Persian Star – Sweet Jennifer, by Kentucky Cookin) raced five times under the name My Strawberry Angel at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver. Samantha St. Jacques produced Jaeda through the Intermediate level before Kelly Morgan bought her to gain mileage at the lower levels.
Kelly competed Jaeda at Training level, and when she broke her wrist in a non-riding related incident in 2014, Booli stepped in to help compete the mare. Booli instantly saw a talent in Jaeda that indicated she could go the very highest level of the sport. With Booli’s upper-level horse Kennedy ready to enjoy a slower pace of life, Kelly and Booli swapped horses.
Booli stepped Jaeda back up to the Intermediate level in 2015, finishing 18th on their dressage score in the mare’s CCI2* debut at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International that fall. Jaeda moved up to the Advanced level with Booli in 2016 and skipped around the Fair Hill CCI3* cross country with one of the fastest rounds last year.
Booli and Jaeda completed CIC3* competitions at Plantation Field, Morven Park and Pine Top, where they finished in seventh place this spring. They also completed four additional National level Advanced horse trials in the U.S. during their partnership together.
Affectionately known as the “Dragon Princess,” Jaeda had a fire about her that inspired all those she graced with her presence. As for the edge that defines a great upper-level event horse, she had it in spades, oozing bravery and a palpable zest for life.
The EN team extends our deepest condolences to Booli, Kelly, super groom Sarah Wohrman and all who knew and loved the Dragon Princess. We are so very sorry for your loss.
This article has been updated with a statement from Booli and the results of the post-mortem examination.