The euthanasia of Theodore O’Connor yesterday after a tragic accident is just the latest in a terrible series of tragedies that have plagued the eventing community this spring, starting with Frodo Baggins and The Quiet Man, and including Nullabor, and Tigger Too. I don’t ever recall such a spate of fatalities in our sport.
There’s been a lot of discussion in the media and on equestrian forums about these deaths; eventing is under an unflattering spotlight and the sport — and its riders — have received more than their share of criticism. I propose that we put all that aside and simply honor these magnificent athletes with a moment of silence and a hug for our own horses. These were magnificent athletes that were loved and respected by their owners and riders. They will all be sorely missed.
These horses were all among eventing’s elite: they lived in luxurious surroundings and received the best of care. Many of those who condemn the sport don’t realize that these were horses that loved the game. You simply cannot make a horse complete a course of fences that it doesn’t want to jump, especially at the upper levels.
There are plenty of horses that need the support and care that outrage amongst concerned equestrians could provide; horses that are neglected, abused, or sent to auction as a last resort. Save your anger and activism for them; give these horses the honor and respect they deserve.