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bubba13 11-06-2011 11:42 PM

Discussion of showjumping deaths
 
My question is, after reading all these responses saying, "yep, I've seen horses collapse and die, too!"--um, what is going on? Now I'm out of the horse racing loop by a long shot, but I hear about breakdowns from leg injuries all the time....but never heart attack / aneurysm deaths. And I'm around a lot of Western performance, rodeo, and trail horses, and have known a very few catastrophic injuries (actually, only one of which happened to a horse I knew, and none in my presence)....but again, no horses collapsing and dying. These things do, occasionally, happen in freak circumstances, I know. I saw a video of a mariachi musician's horse falling, convulsing, and dying with no warning, and heard a story of the same happening during a parade. Again, freak circumstances, just coincidental, horses with underlying problems. But multiples in a single sport like that, according to the above posters, happening with regularity? What gives?

SarahAnn 11-07-2011 12:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bubba13 (Post 1224778)
My question is, after reading all these responses saying, "yep, I've seen horses collapse and die, too!"--um, what is going on? Now I'm out of the horse racing loop by a long shot, but I hear about breakdowns from leg injuries all the time....but never heart attack / aneurysm deaths. And I'm around a lot of Western performance, rodeo, and trail horses, and have known a very few catastrophic injuries (actually, only one of which happened to a horse I knew, and none in my presence)....but again, no horses collapsing and dying. These things do, occasionally, happen in freak circumstances, I know. I saw a video of a mariachi musician's horse falling, convulsing, and dying with no warning, and heard a story of the same happening during a parade. Again, freak circumstances, just coincidental, horses with underlying problems. But multiples in a single sport like that, according to the above posters, happening with regularity? What gives?

Took the words right out of my mouth... What's going on?
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bubba13 11-07-2011 12:14 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Allison Finch (Post 1224487)

This piqued my curiosity, so I have to ask now, too....what's up with this?

bubba13 11-07-2011 01:11 AM

Well, the owner and people personally affected by the tragedy aren't here reading it, and the horse sure doesn't know or care (and wouldn't, even if he were alive), so I suppose I don't see much of a point to be expressing public sympathy to a bunch of bystanders with no dog in the fight. I'd rather think it would go without saying that it's sad when any horse dies, phenomenal athlete or not. I also think it would be rather even more inappropriate to start a thread for the sole purpose of criticizing the rider's bit choice.

And to me, if you can make a learning opportunity out of a tragedy, well, that's about the only good that can come of it. Rather like the deaths of famous racehorses (Ruffian/Barbaro/Eight Belles) and subsequent investigations into industry policy change.

Dressage10135 11-07-2011 01:21 AM

You wouldn't be criticizing the choice of the bit, you'd be learning about it. Right?

You can say none of us have a "dog in the fight", but I, as well as others, loved watching this horse perform so I truly did feel sad when this happened. It doesn't matter that any of us knew him personally, he was a legend and a representative of the Canadian team. Its called respect.

Of course learning is always a good thing, I just think it could be separated so that those who actually feel bad can express that.

kevinshorses 11-07-2011 01:41 AM

A rider at that level won't stay horseless for long.

I don't pretend to know much about showjumping but it seems to me that the reason it may be less uncommon to see horses die like that in a jumping ring is that they are generally large horses and older than most TB racehorses. It's also quite an athletic feat to jump that high and must put quite a strain on the horse.

VelvetsAB 11-07-2011 01:48 AM

It is quite common for horses at that level to be over 10 years old, with some competing well into their late teens.

Big Ben was retired at 18, after 11 years of competition.

bubba13 11-07-2011 03:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dressage10135 (Post 1224850)
You wouldn't be criticizing the choice of the bit, you'd be learning about it. Right?

Right, but I suspect it would turn ugly quickly, and that would be disrespectful.

Quote:

You can say none of us have a "dog in the fight", but I, as well as others, loved watching this horse perform so I truly did feel sad when this happened. It doesn't matter that any of us knew him personally, he was a legend and a representative of the Canadian team. Its called respect.

Of course learning is always a good thing, I just think it could be separated so that those who actually feel bad can express that.
To be honest, given all the views this thread has had, I thought it would be the best place to start a discussion of good information--to get some answers. And at any rate I can't change what's been posted.

Kevin, what you are saying makes sense; I hadn't considered that. But if that is the case, and if these events are occuring with any frequency whatsoever, perhaps it is time to reevaluate standards.

kitten_Val 11-07-2011 07:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VelvetsAB (Post 1224865)
It is quite common for horses at that level to be over 10 years old, with some competing well into their late teens.

True. All horses (24 of them) at GP last week were from 10 to 14 years old.

maura 11-07-2011 08:21 AM

I don't have any facts or figures, but based on my memory of news reports, deaths while performing are more common in show jumpers than any other discipline except racing.

I remember Richard Spooner literally had a horse die underneatch in the ring some years back.

There are a couple of factors that contribute; first, they are incredibly fit athletes. If they have any kind of cardiovascular problem or weakness, show jumping is going to aggravate it. If a horse had a small aneurism, he could live a long healthy life in another discipline. Go look at some GP video - a horse making a big effort over a large spread fence is likely to rupture that aneurism, break blood vessels or otherwise aggravate any other underlying structural weakness.

I don't know for sure that it's a factor, but if you follow Hickstead's career, he had a lot of frequent flyer miles. He was in Hong Kong for the Olympics, and this show was in Verona, Italy. International travel in general and flying in particular is incredibly stressful on horses.

As far as the hackamore/bit combo, I have seen it before in jumpers. The idea is pretty staightforward - you have two ways of influencing the horse's way of going instead of one. Looks like he has a modified bit converter on there, so he's always exerting some pressure on the hack and some on the bit.

I have never ridden a horse in this setup; so I can't speak more directly to it than that. Jumpers can be hot and jumper riders tend to work their way through a tack catalog as a horse's career progresses. Hickstead certainly appears to be "up" and very forward in the ring if you watch him perform.

The proof is in the pudding - the horse clearly likes his job, and jumps classically correctly, round and with a relaxed and extended head and neck. And while he's very forward, he doesn't appear to be resisting or fighting his rider down to his fences. So while I'm not going to recommend this equipment to a Pony Clubber, I am loathe to criticize a world class rider using it on a very talented horse with great success.


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