NZ horse euthanised at WEG

Jenny Champion presents Barack Obama at the first horse inspection (Image: Libby Law)

The endurance horse Barack Obama, ridden by Jenny Champion and owned by Mark Round, has been confirmed as the horse euthanised for kidney problems following the cancelled race.

The official statement says: 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.

The horse had been competing in international Endurance events since 2009 and had 16 FEI event starts, including six 160-kilometre rides. Jenny Champion took over the ride on the horse in 2014 and together the partnership had won six times.

Wednesday’s ride was cancelled due to the combination of extreme heat and humidity, an unusually high number of horses displaying clinical signs of metabolic issues, and the additional exertion required of the horses following heavy rainfall.

New Zealand’s Jenny Champion on Barack Obama (Image: Libby Law)

Our deepest condolences go to Jenny, Mark and the horse’s connections.

Jenny Champion finishing the first phase on Barack Obama

Equestrian Sports NZ High Performance Director says the whole New Zealand team is devastated by the loss, none more so than Mark, Jenny and the support crew Shane Dougan, John Stevenson and Kirstine Campbell.

“Jenny and her team prepared the horse exceptionally. As with all NZ horses at WEG, Barack was under the best of care for more than 18 months prior to the games to ensure he was at optimum health,” she says.

“He passed a comprehensive vet test prior to leaving NZ and was in good health leading into the race, passing the first two vet checks at the competition. Leading into the race the team vet Nick Page was confident the horse was race-ready.”

Sarah describes Jenny as a true horsewoman. She had felt something was not right with Barack during the race, and pulled him up immediately, well before it was cancelled. She sought medical assistance and the horse was treated as soon as possible.

“Our thoughts are with Mark, Jenny, Shane and John, Kirstine and the entire endurance community in NZ who will be devastated by the news.”

The team would like to thank the vets at the Tryon Equine Hospital and on-site at the WEG venue, their care and advice was exceptional.