Strike Smartly Passes Away after Colic Complications

Tom McEwen and Strike Smartly lead going into the final phase of the Blair CCI3*. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Britain’s Tom McEwen today announced the sad passing of 12-year-old Strike Smartly, his 2017 Chatsworth CCI4*-S (CIC3*) and Camphire CCI4*-L (CCI3*) winner.

Known as Paddy, the Irish Sport Horse (Ghareeb x Ramble Way, by Diamond Lad) was bred by Patrick Fenton and campaigned as a four-year-old by Australia’s Paul Tapner, who piloted Paddy’s full brother Kilronan at CCI5*-L (CCI4*). He was then ridden by fellow British rider Daisy Berkeley, who produced him to the CCI4*-S (CIC3*) level. Paddy would jump clear at Blenheim’s prestigious eight- and nine-year-old class for 16th place in 2016, and that winter, he would make the move to Tom McEwen‘s yard.

In 2017, Paddy would record his two international wins and finish his year by jumping clear around Boekelo’s formidable cross-country course, and in 2018, he would make the big step up to CCI5*-L at Badminton. There, he made a hugely exciting impression, posting a 25.9 with three 10s in the first phase and delivering a steady clear that hinted at his enormous potential for the future. That autumn, the striking 16.3hh gelding lead Blair Castle’s CCI4*-L until the final phase, where a solitary rail moved him into a creditable second place.

Strike Smartly in action. Photo: Tom McEwen Eventing.

In an emotional Facebook statement, McEwen’s team announced today that the rising star had succumbed to complications due to colic.

“It was a pre-existing condition that caused complications over the weekend,” explains the statement. “We are sure that he would have had a huge future in this amazing sport of eventing. He will leave a deep hole in Team McEwen. However, he will be even more acutely missed by his owner Penny Barker, who rode him regularly and followed his successes with a passion. He was one in a million, who would give his heart to everything he did, asking for nothing in return except his food!”

Tom McEwen and Strike Smartly. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

“Tom feels privileged to have been allowed to ride such an amazing horse, and the team were honoured to have looked after Paddy who was the most genuine, kind and honest person we think we will ever have or meet. We are all heart broken.”

All of us at EN send our deepest condolences to Team McEwen and all those who knew, loved, or admired Paddy.