Dec 26, 2018

In Memoriam: Nirvana II

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
Jill Henneberg and Nirvana II at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Karl Leck Photo.

In 1996 Jill Henneberg represented the U.S. at the Olympic Games on an off-the-track Thoroughbred mare she found in a backyard and purchased for a few hundred dollars. Nirvana II (by Hawkins Special) was only 3 years old and Henneberg was only 13 years old when they came together and they would be a pair for the next 30 years – until Nirvana passed away today at the age of 33.

In 1993 they completed the Fair Hill CCI3* and Henneberg earned the Markham Trophy as the top young rider. The following year they finished eighth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI3* and earned the best conditioned trophy. They returned to Rolex Kentucky in 1996 and finished 10th to secure a spot on the team at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Henneberg would retire the mare the next year at 11 years of age due to a tendon injury. Nirvana made a brief comeback in 2002-2003 with one of Henneberg’s students, Morgan Patton.

Nirvana had two foals including First Mark (by Espiritu) who would go on to compete at the CCI3* level with Heather Morris.

“It was my greatest honor getting to be your person for 30 years,” said Henneberg on her Facebook page. “Thank you for being my everything. My heart is yours forever. Rest in peace, my love.”

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