“Our Hopes and Dreams For Her Were So High”: Tamie Smith’s Solaguayre California Euthanised After Freak Luhmühlen Injury

Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

We’re devastated to report that Tamie Smith‘s Luhmühlen mount, Solaguayre California, has been euthanised following a freak injury to her knee while jumping through the first water complex at the German five-star, which was her debut at the level.

The pair jumped cleanly through the complex, which was one of the most influential questions of the day, though the twelve-year-old mare did hit her knee on the C element of the final fence while clearing it. After jumping the next fence, a table that came up very shortly after the water, Tamie felt that California was slightly off, and opted to pull the mare up. California was then transported off the course and to a local equine hospital as a precautionary measure to avoid any risk of infection to the cut over the joint. There, a fracture to the knee was discovered, though the prognosis was an optimistic one, and the mare, who is owned by David and Julianne Guariglia, was booked in for surgery to start the repair process. It was then that the injury was discovered to be a much more complex one, and the tough decision was made to euthanise California.

Tamie has shared a statement on her social media channels, which reads as follows:

“My heart is broken as I write this and say that Solaguayre California was humanely euthanized after a planned surgery to repair a slab fracture to her knee. As California jumped out of the C element of the water at the Luhmühlen CCI5*-L, I felt her hit the jump and what seemed to be just a sting and disappointing moment of having to pull her up to save for another day. Initially the assessment of her recovery was favorable as we stopped when we did and it seemed to be a simple fix. However it has turned out much more extensive and the damage was irreparable.

“This is devastating to our team, her owners and I cannot quite imagine life without our girl, however her tenacity and grit was the complete example of how we get through times like these.

“I find comfort knowing we were able to get her to the best surgeon with the best medical team. There were so many amazing people who helped facilitate this and no stone was unturned on trying to find a perfect plan to having her make a full recovery.

“California was a star in the making and showed the world, especially this season, how incredibly gifted she was. Our hopes and dreams for her were so high. Our hearts are broken. 💔

“As I sit here hugging the black stallion in a puddle of tears I have to reflect at the incredible honor it is to have these partnerships with our horses. How lucky are we to experience such a bond with these athletes.

“I know that living… means you take the good with the bad. Life’s uncertainty can’t disable your life because you are afraid of the risk of living, it isn’t easy, but it is better to have experienced the moments and memories and to live for every moment than to just sit and be safe.

“California was the epitome of ‘Carpe Diem’… so I take this meaning of living life to the fullest in her memory.  My brain is spinning, my heart is broken, but I know I have you all to keep me pushing on.”

The EN team sends its most heartfelt condolences to Tamie, the Guariglia family, and all the connections of Solaguayre California. We’ve loved enjoying the privilege of watching her climb through the levels – join us in looking back at some of our favourite moments of her career.


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