USEA Speaks Out on Horse Deaths at The Fork

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In the wake of the passing of both Powderhound and Conair at The Fork this past weekend, the USEA has released a statement. Posted on the USEA website earlier today, the statement provides not only empathy for those affected by the deaths, but also statistics on the accidents as well as some information on the USEA Equine Cardiovascular Research Study and the USEA Equine Welfare Research Program. The statement also reminds readers that the tragedies occurred during or following two different phases of competition, and emphasizes that jumping to conclusions is unproductive without knowing the facts surrounding the circumstances.

An excerpt from the USEA statement:

“Event horses are the best-cared for horses in the world.  And yet it is a sad fact of life that horses, like humans, are susceptible to all sorts of health conditions and latent injuries that can crop up or become active at any time. Indeed many horses suffer serious injury or fatal aneurysms just playing in their paddocks.  And sometimes, through sad coincidence, unrelated tragedies happen in the same place and at the same time.  As most eventers are aware, several celebrated event horses were tragically lost this past winter, i.e. during the off season, from a variety of health issues that had nothing to do with competition or even being ridden.  By comparison, during the entire 2013 American competition season, four horses were lost, three on course and one from an aneurysm suffered after completing the cross-country.  Horses started in USEA/USEF competitions 42,615 times in 2013. The percentage of equine fatalities compared to that total number of starters is thus 0.01. Calculating an average of 21 jumps per start, that comes out to one equine fatality per 223,729 jumps.

Nonetheless, we will keep striving to improve those statistics.  From the USEA’s standpoint, all health incidents involving our beloved horses underscore the importance of the work being done through the USEA Equine Cardiovascular Research Study.  That study is directly relevant to finding the cause of—and eventually preventing—rare but often tragic equine cardiovascular events.  Equally important is the new USEA Equine Welfare Research Program.   Thanks to that program, $1 of every single starter fee—more than $40,000 annually–is being reserved for the financial support of studies into many other diseases and conditions affecting event horses.  Thanks to the generosity of individual donors, the USEA was able to kick off the Equine Welfare Research Program in December with a contribution of $21,000 which was forwarded to the Morris Animal Foundation to support certain deserving studies already underway.”

To read the full statement from the USEA, click here.

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