Top Thoroughbred of dressage world dies

Sea Lord is flanked by Silva Martin, left, and Charish Arthur.

Sea Lord is flanked by Silva Martin, left, and Charish Arthur at Windurra, the main training facility for Boyd and Silva Martin.

Sea Lord, a leggy and brilliant OTTB who performed a tribute to American racehorses so beautifully under top dressage rider Silva Martin in 2011, has died.

Following months of tests, and at least one major episode with colic, the high-stepping giant of a horse who was said to have the “presence of a god,” was euthanized at New Bolton Center on Dec. 11, said his owner Charish Arthur.

“At the end, we had the vet out everyday, they came on their own time just to check on him,” Arthur said. “He’d always been a hard keeper, but for the last months, he seemed to deteriorate before my eyes.”

Sea Lord
Sire: Sea Salute
Dam: Graceful Glory
Foal date: 2001
He grew weaker over time, and Arthur never pushed him to perform hard. He had months and months off, been given a good life full of love, free-choice hay and hours of daily turnout on grass. But when he started to grow uncomfortable in recent weeks, developing a distended belly, the decision was made to bring him to New Bolton, she said.

“At one point he had 30 students in with him, along with the vets” performing an array of tests. This poor horse just went through so much,” she said.

Large masses and nodules were discovered on his lungs, and finally, with no more that could be done for him by man’s hands, the Thoroughbred nicknamed Big Bird was set free.

Sea Lord and Silva Martin performed a freestyle tribute to the American Thoroughbred in 2011.

Sea Lord and Silva Martin performed a freestyle tribute to the American Thoroughbred in 2011.

“He was an amazing horse. He made me a much better rider, and we had some good shows and good trips. I got my first score toward the USDF gold medal on him,” Arthur said, adding that though it was supposed to go differently for the great horse she purchased in 2011, she felt some relief that her amazing horse was finally free of the discomfort and illness.

Sea Lord rose to prominence with Silva Martin, achieving the distinction of becoming a Grand Prix dressage horse under her careful training. Martin began riding Sea Lord after noticing him in the barn of Olympian Phillip Dutton in 2007. In an earlier interview with Off Track, Silva Martin said, “I used to look at him and think that this was a really nice horse. You could just see it.”

And her instincts proved correct. She developed him into a “freak” of a performer so talented that he became a “dream to ride.”

*Click here for an earlier article about Sea Lord and Silva Martin:

11 responses to “Top Thoroughbred of dressage world dies”

  1. Haley Basset

    So sorry for the loss of this magnificent horse. The video captures his heart. Dance with tthe angels Sea Lord….

  2. elainemundy

    Sorry for your loss – thanks for showing the world that OTTBs CAN be great at dressage!

  3. Sheryl

    Thoroughbreds are the epitome of the horse breeds. SOOOO talented for anything they are asked to do under the right hand. RIP Beautiful boy. You have wings now.

  4. Carmel

    What a beautiful boy, such a loss to his family. Watching the video brought tears to my eyes, RIP Sea Lord.

  5. Ann Lieber

    God love him and may he rest in peace~

  6. Glenys McNally

    Run in Peace Sea Lord. Dance freestyle..

  7. Kathy

    My condolences. RIP to this beautiful boy.

  8. LindaVA

    My condolences to all who loved him, he was magnificent.

  9. tiggy1998

    My thoughts and Prayers are with you. He was a magnificent fellow.

  10. tbdancer

    I am so sorry to read this. He was a lovely horse and did shine very brightly.

  11. Martha.

    My sincerest condolences to Charish and Silva. May Sea Lord rest in peace.

Leave a Reply