British Dressage is reporting today that, in spite of boots and bandages and a relatively small sand paddock, international dressage star Mr G de Lully broke his lower leg in seven places on Sunday and was humanely destroyed. The accident happened at a training center in Germany.
"We tragically had to have ?G' put down today despite all efforts to save his leg. What he had done we will never know. He was turned out in a 20x20-meter sand school with every boot and bandage on, but he had seven fractures between the hoof and fetlock, so there was nothing we could do," owner Fiona Bigwood told British Dressage.
Currently owned and trained by Great Britain's Fiona Bigwood, Mr G de Lully was truly an international horse: The 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding competed for Switzerland at the Athens Olympics. With Fiona riding, he represented Great Britain in the 2005 and 2007 European dressage championships. In 2006, while Fiona was pregnant, the horse was ridden by her partner, the leading European rider Anders Dahl of Denmark, who in turn trained with the German Rudolf Zeilinger. Small world!
Bigwood and Mr G de Lully were preparing for selection trials to represent Great Britain in the Beijing 2008 Olympics equestrian events in Hong Kong this August.
To learn more: Read performance-horse expert veterinarian Midge Leitch's recommendation on turnout safety for dressage horses on equisearch.com; Leitch explained in Dressage Today magazine that European horses are not accustomed to turnout and recommends that they be sedated before being let loose in paddocks. Leitch highly recommends slowly acclimating European horses to the freedom of turnout but that the longterm behavior and health benefits would help many horses. Alternatives to turnout for dressage horses are usually hot walkers or lunge work, often under tack.