We’re heartbroken to report this morning that Legion Kat, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Natalie Sandler and ridden by Buck Davidson, was euthanized last night at Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital in Ocala due to a ruptured stomach.
“Arnold” was happily munching hay in his field when Buck left the barn in the late afternoon, but his team soon called him to alert him that something didn’t seem right with the horse. After examining him at the farm, Buck’s vet team elected to get Arnold to Peterson & Smith as quickly as possible, where they ultimately diagnosed the rupture.
While the BDJ team hoped Arnold’s owner, Natalie, might be able to make it to Ocala to say goodbye to him, the decision was ultimately made to quickly end the horse’s suffering.
Arnold will be buried at Buck’s farm within the racetrack. “He loved racing and he loved eventing, so it seemed appropriate to bury him close to the two things that made him the happiest,” Buck said.
A barn favorite, Arnold had just made a successful move up to Intermediate at the Ocala Horse Properties Winter I H.T. last weekend, placing sixth in a competitive field. He also won the One-Star National Championship at Hagyard MidSouth last fall.
By Legion Field out of Ice Kat, by Katowice, Arnold raced 13 times at Philadelphia Park and Penn National before retiring from the track in 2008. With “a good mind, a kind soul, amazing movement, powerful jump and an effortless gallop,” Arnold joined the BDJ team in 2013 and immediately took to eventing. Buck produced the horse from the Novice level.
“I have to thank my team for taking quick action,” Buck said. “In the hard times you find out if you have a good team around you, and I’m so fortunate to have this group of people, owners and crew to look after the horses and care for them so much. We’re a community.”
Buck also wanted to thank the vets at Peterson & Smith for quickly diagnosing the stomach rupture and ensuring Arnold didn’t needlessly suffer. “He was stoic until the very end,” Buck said. “We’re all going to miss him very much.”
Rest in peace, Arnold.
Sally Spickard contributed to this report.