Friday, July 31, 2009

Super Pony - Gone

I found out a few weeks ago that the eventing pony, Theodore O'Conner, had died. Upon learning that he was gone, I had no clue what had happened to him - I figured sudden colic, twisted gut; they couldn't save him. Then I dug a little and found out that he had died after a freak accident in Karen and David O'Conner's barn here in Virginia. (BTW, the O'Conner name connection is just a coincidence. Karen didn't own Teddy. But what a cute coincidence!) Apparently, Teddy got loose from a handler outside the barn, was spooked, and ran back in. He slipped, fell, and had a collision with something that cut one of his hind legs so severely that tendons and ligaments were severed beyond repair. Apparently there was a vet there at the moment whom examined him, then a second vet was consulted, and the decision was made to euthanize him. The leg was destroyed.
Teddy was only 14.1 hands, and a powerhouse of a pony! According to what I have read, he was the first pony to compete in the Rolex Kentucky (2007.) Watching some videos of him with Karen I confess I teared up. He was absolutely amazing. Who knows, if he had lived, he may have been the first pony to compete in the Olympics........
It is unbelievable that this little guy competed in so many events with hazardous obstacles, but was killed in a freak accident at home, in his barn?! Who would think?
I can understand it, however. My barn has a smooth concrete center isle, and those "Equine Classic" stalls with the iron frames and board slats for walls. One time last winter, during a cold, drizzly rain, one of my horses, Applejacks (who passed away in February of this year) burst through the gate and rain into the barn. As she turned into her stall, her feet slipped out from under her and she slid into the stall door frame, hitting her head on one side and her legs on the other. She hit her head so hard, she was dazed for about 10 minutes and couldn't get up. Luckily, it turned out better for Applejacks than for Teddy. If I could change my barn, I would, for this reason, have a rougher finish on the concrete for better traction. It is even worse for shod horses, and they slip all the time.
There will more than likely never be another pony on international competition caliber for a long while, if ever. Teddy was truly one of a kind, and now a legend as well.
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