US Olympian Phillip Dutton lost his horse Baileywick while competing on cross-country yesterday at the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event at the New Jersey Horse Park. The horse was apparently humanely destroyed on the course although no official announcement has been made.
In a statement on his web site posted after the fall, Dutton wrote,
"It is with great sadness that we report that Baileywick died today at the Jersey Fresh CCI***.
"Bailey and I fell at fence number 20, a straightforward oxer, after jumping up until then a perfect round. I take full responsibility for this fall.
"My deepest sympathies and gratitude go to his owners Jess and Sharon Sweely, who bred Bailey and brought him along as a young horse, Emily Basheer, who rode and competed him to preliminary level, and to my groom, Emma Ford who meticulously looked after Bailey as if he were her own child.
"I want to thank the officials, support crew, and veterinarians at Jersey Fresh and my fellow riders who have been so supportive."
I suppose there is a protocol that riders are advised to follow when this sort of thing happens, orchestrated as a template from PR people who Know What's Best for Eventing. I suppose that I am slipping to into a protocol as well.
Click here to read Nancy Jaffer's account from the scene; she states that Dutton did not request a necropsy so the cause of death will not be investigated beyond the assumption that he died of injuries suffered in a fall during jumping. Dutton continued competing other horses yesterday afternoon after the accident, according to Nancy.
I found out about this tragic event via a Twitter from the Chronicle of the Horse. (Thanks!)
I then had to dig to find information about this horse. No news from USEF. No news from USEA. No news from the FEI. No news on the event site. I guess it is the weekend...and Mothers' Day at that...so I started Googling and found that he had been ridden successfully at the upper levels by both Dutton and Boyd Martin, and the breeders Dutton mentioned are the owners of Acorn Hill Farm, the noted Irish Sport Horse breeders in Madison, Virginia, in case you know them by farm name rather than personal names. And in some places he is Bailey Wick and in others Baileywick; I went by Dutton's spelling.
Baileywick was by Pallas Digion out of the Thoroughbred mare Northern Axis, according to the Acorn Hill Farm web site, which chronicled his rise through the Advanced to CCI ranks. He would have been 10 years old, as best I can tell, and was on the way up.
A year ago, the O'Connor Event Team lost the wonderful Tigger Too at this event.