Axel Z Euthanized Following Rotational Fall at Luhmühlen CCI4*

Chloe Raty and Axel Z at fence 17B in the Meßmer Teich water complex. Their fall occurred at 18B, the upright rail coming out of the water. Photo by Jenni Autry.

We are devastated to confirm that Axel Z, ridden by Chloe Raty of Belgium, has been euthanized due to spinal injuries sustained in a rotational fall on the CCI4* cross country course at Turniergesellschaft Luhmühlen.

The fall occurred when Axel Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide (Asca Z X Odessa, by Gastal), left a leg at fence 18b, an upright rail set on a bounce stride in the Meßmer Teich water complex. While the rail was pinned with a MIM clip, the frangible technology did not deploy.

Axel Z rotated over the fence and fell, pinning Chloe underneath him. She was wearing an air vest, which officials confirmed did deploy. Both horse and rider were transported off the course via ambulance. Luhmühlen confirmed in a press conference following cross country that Chloe was examined at a local hospital and sustained no major injuries.

X-rays at a local veterinary clinic revealed a fracture in the first lumbar vertebrae of Axel Z’s spine. FEI veterinarian Dr. Jürgen Martens confirmed Axel Z was euthanized due to the catastrophic nature of the injuries.

When asked in the press conference why the MIM clip did not deploy, course designer Mike Etherington-Smith said, “The way the clips are designed is to help reduce the possibility of a rotational fall. There is no guarantee that they won’t happen. It’s all about minimizing the risk.”

Chloe and Axel Z were competing in their first CCI4* at Luhmühlen. Our thoughts are with Chloe and all who knew and loved Axel Z.

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