‘Thankful For Him No Matter What:’ Frankie Thieriot Stutes Shares an Update on Chatwin

The partnership between Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin is nothing short of magical. Their career highlights include being crowned USEF National 4* Champions at Fair Hill in 2018 followed by a fourth-place finish on one of the world’s most competitive stages, the Luhmühlen 5*. On Thanksgiving eve, Frankie shared an update on her beloved teammate. Her respect, gratitude and dedication to his well-being burn bright in every word. Thank you, Frankie, for your horsemanship, and for allowing us to share in each and every chapter of your inspiring journey.

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin at the first horse inspection of their five-star debut together at Luhmühlen 2019. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

So many have asked so it’s time I give everyone an update on Chatwin. The last few months have been full of a great deal of the unknown & an unimaginable diagnosis.

Chatwin has a horrific hip injury — it’s an injury that is exceptionally rare in horses, almost unheard of. It’s an injury we don’t have many answers about. We don’t know when it happened, don’t know if he will ever return to work or competition, and we don’t know if ultimately his life will be shortened by it.

The pair stormed into the top three after dressage on a score of 28.8. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Here is what I do know — I know that Chatwin is tough beyond measure and that the deep passion and love he has for his work, competing, and for me may have allowed him to fool even some of the best medical minds in the world into thinking he was fine. It may have even allowed him to win by notable margins like nothing was wrong because he loves to compete more than most in the world. I do know that thanks to the truly remarkable Jim Myers who I am lucky to call not only my vet, but my friend, everything possible in regards to regenerative medicine and beyond for Chat has been done. I do know that the group of people who have stood behind us is truly remarkable (despite my inability to have answers I oh-so-wish existed), and I do know that if any horse in the world can overcome unthinkable circumstances to have his job back some day it is Chatwin.

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin picked up 6.4 time penalties cross country, good for eighth place heading into the final phase. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

After strengthening, swimming, regenerative medicine and every possible thing known to man for his physical best interests the last several months, it became incredibly clear to me that the toll his time away and this injury was taking on my friend Chatwin mentally was significant. My responsibility to this horse as his partner is to always put his happiness and wellbeing first, no matter what. Because of this, a few weeks ago I made the decision it was time for Chatwin to come home.

There continue to be many things we don’t know about Chatwin’s condition, but I do know that he is beyond ecstatic to be out with his friends, back with his family and up to his usual trouble making ways.

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin share a quiet moment after successfully presenting to the ground jury at Luhmühlen 2019. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Chatwin has taken me places I never even dared to dream of, and at only 12 years of age, I hope the same heart that made him a National Champion and one of the best horses in the world, gets to beat with excitement again leaving the start box. Regardless, I promise to love him every single day for the rest of his life. Whether that be as his competition partner or the person lucky enough to feed him pastries and be his best friend, I will continue to be immensely thankful for him no matter what.

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin finish clear and with one of the fastest rounds of the day, adding 0.8 time penalties. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

I would like to thank the people who have believed in our partnership, and supported our quest to represent Team USA.

To the Chatwin Group and my Cousin Zib, thank you for making it all possible — Especially for allowing me to do everything with Chatwin’s interests always paramount, regardless of expense. Thank you for standing strong in support of us no matter what and for being our biggest, unwavering cheerleaders.

The girl’s done good: Frankie Thieriot Stutes celebrates a clear round with Chatwin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

To my best friends and family who have and continue to live this all alongside me — THANK YOU!

To my amazing vets, farriers, body workers, coaches, and beyond who have been there for our journey from the start, but especially over the last few months, I am forever indebted to each of you.

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin await the prizegiving. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

To the selectors, Erik Duvander, Susan Johns, the entire High Performance and USEF Staff, those responsible for the Broussard Grant, travel grant donors, sponsors and beyond, your belief in a girl with just one horse (from the West Coast no less) is not something I have ever taken lightly, and my gratitude for each and every one of you is incredibly immense.

To everybody you who has cheered us on and been so kind, I always took notice, and I’m very very appreciative.

A team effort. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

For me the most magical part of horses is truly being their partner. That is not something that stops when you leave show ring. In my eyes it extends far beyond into loving them for every single one of their days, it is my promise that no matter what the future holds, good or challenging, I will be there loving Chat for every one of his.