Rest in Peace, Polaris

Sara Gumbiner and Polaris at the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

EN is heartbroken to report that Sara Gumbiner’s Polaris, whose story and spirit captured the hearts of so many, has passed away at age 16.

Sara produced “Larry” from Beginner Novice through the five star level, twice completing the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event with no cross country jumping faults. Notoriously unpredictable in the dressage ring, the Irish Sport Horse gelding (Brandenburg’s Windstar x North River Lady) had the heart of a lion over fences and consistently jumped his way up the scoreboard — and the bigger the fences, the better he got. We chronicled their journey together in a 2018 Kentucky preview article here.

Sara shared the following on Facebook today:

“We had to say goodbye to my heart horse too soon.


These last few days have been filled with massive heart ache, it’s all I can do to muster the strength to admit that you’re gone.
I will be forever sorry that I wasn’t able to give you a massive green-field retirement that you deserved.
Thank you for teaching me never to give up and that even the wildest dreams can come true.
Saving my life more times than I want to admit.
Being the constant through a lifetime of change.
Teaching me that asking for help is the opposite of giving up and that partnership is everything in a cross country horse.
Humbling me and teaching me patience and giving me the greatest successes in my life to date.
Teaching me that this sport is the best and worst thing that can happen to a person.
Allowing me to compete on the international stage with the best riders in the world.
Teaching me that eventing is most definitely not a dressage competition.
Thank you for making my career; afterall we both knew everyone in my village is there because of you. Being the glue that created relationships with amazing supporters like Ann Nawn and Melanie Talent; whom I still cherish every day.
You were the king and very often the reason I woke up in the morning during the darkest hours.
You have taken a piece of me with you that will never be replaced.
I feel lucky to have known you and privileged to have been your person.

Rest in Peace Polaris; you are so very loved.

We had to say goodbye to my heart horse too soon.

These last few days have been filled with massive heart ache,…

Posted by Sara Gumbiner on Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Photos from the EN archives:

Our condolences to Sara and all of Larry’s team. Rest in peace, Polaris.