Discussion of showjumping deaths - Page 2

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Discussion of showjumping deaths

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  • When was the last time a horse died in a showjumping arena
  • Showjumping deaths

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    11-07-2011, 07:38 AM
I have known of a few horses -- far from Hickstead's level of performance -- who have died of heart attacks or aneurisms. These were amateur, low level competition horses, but all were also thoroughbreds. I hazily remember reading something somewhere about a genetic defect, found especially in TBs, which predisposes them to specifically aortic aneurisms. Has anyone else heard of this? Am I remembering this right?
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    11-07-2011, 07:43 AM
FYI, Hickstead was a Dutch Warmblood, not a TB.

I'm not familiar with TBs being congenitally prone to aortic aneurisms, but it may very well be true.
    11-07-2011, 07:47 AM
Sorry, I assumed he was a TB. But I suppose a lot of KWPN horses will have a fair bit of TB in them. In any case, I think it was an owner who lost her horse -- a TB -- to an an aortic aneurism who may have told me this. So not an authoritative source, but I just thought I'd put it out there.
    11-07-2011, 08:14 AM
Super Moderator
I saw a QH die the same way in a warm-up ring. I'm not sure the TB link would apply, here. As for the deaths, horses competing at the top of the game, especially in such a demanding sport of as showjumping and putting extreme demands on themselves. And, to get to these levels they have a long history of training and experience, so most are no spring chickens.

Think of the human athletes who die in similar circumstances. It is not uncommon to see the same collapses among the human sports, although most human athletes are on the younger side.

I think it would be ridiculous to say horses shouldn't be asked to jump, as I see this is the direction Bubba seems to be going. Once that theory pops up, all disciplines can be opened to the same scrutiny. Just because we haven't been shown live telecasts of reining horses collapsing may be more a factor of the popularity of televising this sport than whether or not similar incidents happen.

Horses keel over doing all types of sports or simply die in a pasture. Horses putting such passion in their work, as showjumpers do, will definitely be more prone to the effects of congenital weaknesses than a horse standing around doing little.

A horse at these levels LOVES what they do. Several horses I have worked with at this level would free jump any jumps set up in a ring if I turned them out to frolic in a ring with courses set up.

So, Bubba, do you think that no horses have ever collapsed running barrels, a passion of yours?
BCtazzie and TimberRidgeRanch like this.
    11-07-2011, 08:23 AM
I went back yesterday and watched a lot of Hickstead and Eric's performances and the sheer joy that lovely horse showed when jumping was palpable. He was obviously born to jump GP...and looked incredibly happy as he rocketed around the arena and sailed over the poles. I could not imagine a horse such as he doing anything else.
    11-07-2011, 08:29 AM
Super Moderator
A stallion I jumped at that level loved jumping so much it was funny. If I put dressage tack on him for flatwork, you could feel his strong disapproval. He would moan as he was asked to do halfpass and other more demanding movements. He would do it to please me, but he didn't enjoy it. BUT, when I put jumping tack on him he would grab for the bit. It made bridling him even harder.

If the jumps were low and boring, he would show his displeasure. The infrequent times when the jumps were high and tight, you could feel him come alive. The tighter the turns, the more he loved it.

You may ask....Well, how do YOU know he loved it?" If you ever saw the horse, you wouldn't ask this question. The few who have ridden him (a member of another forum is one of the few who did ride him, though many were offered the opportunity, will tell you how much he lived to jump.

Sadly, this stallion died, recently, after long health related infirmities. Not nice seeing this noble horse go this way. I almost wish HE had left doing what he loved....quickly, as Hickstead did.
maura and MudPaint like this.
    11-07-2011, 09:18 AM
As horrible as that video is to watch, and as horrible as it must have been for Eric Lamaze, from the horse's point of view...it was quick, probably fairly painless and he died at the height of his ability and prowess. So not such a bad way for a great one to go, except for the utter shock of it.
    11-07-2011, 12:21 PM
I've read of steeplechase horses whose rider came off in the first couple of jumps running the rest of the course on their own.

Dick Francis, best known as a mystery writer, wrote of a horse that drove him nuts as a rider. When he was in the mood to jump, he'd win. When he wasn't...well, no rider could make him win. Francis would know, before the race started, if he was going to win or finish near the end. And the bettors would give him hell for losing, and even suggest he was holding the horse back, because they KNEW he was capable of better. And he was - if he felt like winning that day.

I'm at the lowest level of pleasure riding, but even I can tell that sometimes the horse is having fun, and sometimes not. If Mia is having a good day, and we have a good ride, at the end she'll give me a look that makes me think I ought to offer her a cigarette...
roljess, SaddleDragon and gigem88 like this.
    11-07-2011, 12:33 PM
Off topic but...bsms...do you recall the title of that book? I've read all of Dick Francis' mystery novels multiple times (love him) but don't think I've read any of his non-fiction work. I'm about to head off on a business trip and need to load up my Kindle.

    11-07-2011, 12:34 PM
I have a question, Do these owner think to have these horses checked for any medical problems before each competition. I would think and hope that being a responsible horse owner they would and hopefully if it was something evident that this could have been prevented. Usually there are some sort of signs of a heart attack before it happens.

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