“It was a night of tears—tears of joy and tears of loss,” wrote Kc Brascomb on Facebook.

The American breeder’s horse died suddenly an hour after jumping to a third place finish in Round II of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Finals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Chromatic BF, competing under USA’s Jill Humphrey, made his championship debut this week following a breakout World Cup season that saw them finish as the top ranked American and fifth overall pair on the North American League standings.

The 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Connor was bred and raised at Branscomb Farms LLC in Half Moon Bay, CA and cared for by lifetime groom Pepe Rodriguez.

His rise up the international ranks was nothing short of meteoric. Chromatic BF made his international debut in 2023 under Humphries saddle while continuing to live and train at his home farm.

The pair found immediate success on the World Cup tour, jumping to an eighth place finish in Sacramento, CA last October. In the two months following, they went on to log third place finishes at World Cup qualifiers in Fort Worth, TX and Las Vegas, NV, securing their invite to the Final—Humphrey’s first in 17 years. (She last competed at a World Cup Final in 2007.)

This week in Riyadh saw their best performances to date—and against world class talent.

In the opening speed leg, Humphries and the striking black gelding finished 12th in a field of 37. On Thursday, they took third following a seven-horse jump off in Round II, moving the pair into fifth on the overall leaderboard ahead of Saturday’s Final.

Over seven rounds at 1.60m, Chromatic BF averaged just 1.7 faults and finished in the top 10% at an 80% clip with Humphrey (Jumpr App).

“It was just an instant bond and, and he obviously had a wonderful upbringing and he was ready to come up to this level,” said the American rider. “I felt a connection with him and I think it’s just been a wonderful story.”

Then disaster struck. An hour after Thursday’s career high the horse collapsed suddenly in the barn.

Wrote Branscomb on Facebook:

“After hacking normally after the class, Chromatic returned to the barn happy and calm attended by his life-time caretaker Pepe Rodriguez and Jill. After resting and refreshment, he was given a routine recovery shot of electrolytes by the USET Team veterinarian. Upon returning to his stable to be wrapped, blanketed, and put away for the evening, with me present (Kc Branscomb) the horse began seizured [sic] and collapsed in the stall. He was immediately treated and examined by both the USET and FEI veterinarians and was pronounced dead shortly after.”

She continued in her post:

“As owner and breeder, I want it clearly stated that no one was at fault. The horse did not suffer and there is no evidence that his passing was in anyway related to his strenuous and spectacular performance with Jill well over an hour earlier or the routine injection by the veterinarian.”

A full autopsy is in the works.

“What I HOPE people will take away from this freak accident and great tragedy is that it was a night of tears—tears of joy and tears of loss. If I would ask anything of those of you that knew or celebrated him, lets [sic] remember him for how he lived and not for how he died.”

Earlier in the day, Humphries was asked in the mixed media zone at Riyadh what makes Chromatic BF special:

“His personality. He’s such a love,” she gushed. “This is his first trip on a plane. He was born and raised at Branscomb Farm, and his owners and his team that has been with him his whole life are here to watch him. So that’s really exciting too.”

It’s a devastating end to a heartwarming story.

© FEI/Martin Dokoupil

Condolences for Chromatic BFs connections continue to pour out on social media.