News of Dambala’s euthanasia broke during show jumping today at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and Emily Cammock has provided more information to EN to explain the injury in detail, as well as the decision to euthanize the 15-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding.
It came down to a very poor prognosis for “Oscar,” who aggravated an old suspensory injury on cross country yesterday, where he completed the course with 11.2 time penalties before being withdrawn last night.
“Saturday evening, our vets were treating the injury as career ending. At that point, we felt that a recovery to a career as a pasture ornament might be manageable by leaving Oscar in the States. Plain Dealing Farm, where I spent some time as a groom in 2001, generously offered to provide a long-term home for Oscar, and we began making plans to transport him to Virginia,” Emily said.
“But when we took the bandage off this morning, it was clear that no support was left in the suspensory structure. I couldn’t even pick up his other leg. Oscar is a wild man who has never been able to rehab in a box (horse stall). The vets said that he would never be sound in retirement and that his quality of life would be compromised, even if he could somehow make it through rehab. He is not a horse to stand around.”
Addressing concerns over the decision to euthanize Oscar, which have peppered social media all afternoon, Emily said: “If I thought that sending him to Plain Dealing Farm to attempt retirement was the best option, I would have done that.”
Emily is no stranger to lengthy periods of rehabilitation, as her 2008 Olympic hopeful Southern Ben sustained a tendon injury at Bramham that year, after which she flew him home to New Zealand and rehabbed him for two years.
She added that she did not think the slippery footing or Derek di Grazia’s cross country course are to blame for the injury.
“I want to say that the jumps and course were beautifully designed and built with emphasis on safety of the horse and rider,” Emily said. “The ground crew did a great job maintaining the footing in testing conditions. I want to thank the event, my vets and my team for their support.”
Our hearts are broken for Emily, who flew Oscar here from New Zealand to compete in his first CCI4*, after which she planned to sell him in the States.
Jenni Autry contributed to this report.