World Cup ends in Tragedy

California’s Jill Humphrey and Skylar Wireman both had great starts in the World Cup last month in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, along with fellow American Kent Farrington of Wellington, FL who placed fourth overall.
All was going well after round two where Chromatic BF and Jill Humphrey went double clear again and placed third overall. They were standing fifth going into the final day of the FEI Jumping 2024 FEI Jumping & Dressage World Cup Finals 2024 when tragedy struck. But their successes in the show ring ended back at the stable for Chromatic BF’s team after the sudden death of the extremely talented jumper.

McClain Ward shared his thoughts on FaceBook:
“Myself, my family, and our entire team want to send our heartfelt condolences to KC Branscomb, Jill Humphrey, Rudy Leone, and Pepe Rodrigues on the tragic loss tonight of Chromatic. What an incredible story this horse and his people have shared to the top level of the sport. I have always thought Jill was a top-rate rider and to see the success she’s had, combined with the genuine love for all the positive aspects of our sport and our life with horses from those around Chromatic is inspirational. All of our hearts break tonight with you and know the entire horse world is with you.
Skylar at the World Cup
KC Branson, Chromatic BF’s owner shared on FaceBook:
“The FB group Horse Grooms created the lovely composite recognizing Porfirio Rodriguez Brisceno (our beloved Pepe). His is a story that deserves to be told:  Pepe is all around the best horseman I have ever known.  Full stop.  He became my partner and mentor in caring for my horses over thirty years ago when he just magically appeared at my side to untangle a horse that had gotten hung up in my trailer.  At maybe 16 or 17 years old, he was already a horse genius and amazingly generous and kind person.
He, like so many others in that era had traveled north from Mexico barely more than a child with limited formal education,  to earn a living for his family back in Jalisco. Today he is a permanent resident here, highly respected in his community, and with a wonderful family, a wife Luce, two daughters Alondra and Ivana, and two rambunctious granddaughters.
At Branscomb Farm, he manages and trains our young stallions, starts young horses along with another key employee Santos De Jesus Garcia, participates in breeding and foaling, rides our competition horses on the off days at shows, and mentors and supports a sizeable team of experienced grooming professionals as the de facto “Patron” of Branscomb Farm.
There are no words that can express the respect and admiration I have for this man who has built a life for himself and his family here in the USA and shown us all what true horsemanship can and should be.  He loved Chromatic like a son and more importantly, Chromatic loved him unconditionally.  They were inseparable from the day the colt foaled to 13 years later at the pinnacle of success he inexplicably seizured and collapsed reaching for Pepe’s strong hands to hold him up as he passed.  I was there.
When Jill, Rudi, and I all escorted Pepe to the airport a few hours ago to start his very long and lonely journey home, I recognized in him the model of how we all should carry the pain of this loss: with dignity and strong resolve to accept the choices God makes and to celebrate with deep gratitude the time we were all allowed with that extraordinary animal.  Regardless of how great his competition rider(s) were, Chromatic BF would never have achieved what he did without the skill and love that Pepe poured into him over his 13 years of life.  Bravo mi hermano!”
Skylar Wireman at only 19 years of age qualified on Tornado after a remarkable campaign on the North American League, including a top-10 finish at The Las Vegas National Horse Show. After the first World Cup round, she was standing in tenth place. In round two she had more faults but was still in the top 20 among the world’s most talented horses and riders.
USA Show Jumping shared on their FaceBook page:
“Statement from Skylar Wireman on withdrawing Tornado from today’s final round at FEI World Cup Finals:
I have made the very difficult decision to withdraw from the final round of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Finals. Tornado, my horse is 100% well, sound, and fit and I would like to explain why I have withdrawn. I came here knowing this would be an incredible learning experience and I hoped to be competitive.  I am at the start of what I want to be a long and successful career as a jumping athlete and to compete against the very best in the world has been an honor, and I have learned so much.  I hope I have proven that I deserve to be here and that I will give my all to jumping clear rounds and being a winner. While I want to ride every round and grow my experience level, I care deeply about my horses. I love Tornado more than anything.
I came here with a horse that is 10 and is very much still learning and his welfare will always be at the very heart of every decision I make.  Without our horses we are nothing, and they put their complete trust in us.  Tornado was a rock star in the 1st Round of the World Cup Finals finishing 10th amongst the legends of our sport.  He jumped his heart out in the 2nd Round on Thursday.  Tornado is inexperienced at this level and having studied our round on Thursday and talked extensively to my coach and many others whose opinions and experience I have high regard for,  I will not risk his welfare or his future in the sport by asking Tornado to jump a course he might not be quite ready for.  The course today will be big and technical but fair for this level of competition: I knew it would be but I knew Tornado and I had the potential to jump it; that potential is still there but we need just a little more experience to realize it.
I am so grateful to those who have supported Tornado, to my family Shayne Berridge-Wireman, my groom Alicia Marie, my coach Peter Wylde, and the USEF who have put a warm blanket of support around all of us here in Riyadh. I look forward to representing the team in the future!”
Kent Farrington completed the event and placed fourth overall on Greya a 2014 Oldenburg mare.