World Equestrian Games

Endurance Horse Euthanized at WEG

©FEI/MARTIN DOKOUPIL

An endurance horse has died following Wednesday’s ride at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC.

Barack Obama, a 20-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding ridden by Jenny Champion (NZL), was euthanized today after being pulled from competition on Wednesday and treated for kidney issues.

From the FEI:

It is with great regret that we confirm that the horse Barack Obama (FEI 102TG75), ridden by Team New Zealand’s Jenny Champion (10017709) in the Endurance Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday (12 September), has been euthanised this afternoon.

The horse, a 20-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding, was taken to the Endurance Treatment Clinic after being transported back from the second loop of the 120-kilometre ride. He was treated for kidney problems onsite at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and then transferred to the Tryon Equine Hospital for further treatment.

The horse’s owner, Mark Round, in consultation with the athlete and veterinarians, today elected for euthanasia.

In line with the FEI Veterinary Regulations, a post mortem will be conducted and samples will be taken from the horse.

Barack Obama’s international career started in 2009 with Round in the tack. Champion took over the ride in 2014, logging eight top three finishes, including six victories, in their 10 FEI starts together.

The equine death is the latest in a string of misfortunes to befall the sport of endurance at the 2018 Games. A false start was declared Wednesday morning after several teams were misdirected at the beginning of the course, prompting officials to restart the event as a 120km/80 mile track after the first vet check. Later that afternoon, the ride was cancelled altogether due to extreme heat and humidity, an unusually high number of horses displaying clinical signs of metabolic issues at the third vet check (52 all told), and the additional exertion required of the horses following the heavy rainfall. Almost all of the 53 horses sent to the Endurance Treatment Clinic were dehydrated from excessive sweating and fluid losses and required fluid therapy, revealed a subsequent report from the FEI.