Second Event Horse Dies in Europe; PETA Calls for End to Eventing

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A second event horse in Europe has died during a competition.

Is eventing too hard on horses© The subject comes up once again as two horses in two weeks died on cross-country day at two European horse trials. (image by FlyingTiger)

Is eventing too hard on horses© The subject comes up once again as two horses in two weeks died on cross-country day at two European horse trials. (image by FlyingTiger)

Houghton International Horse Trials in Norfolk, England has published a press statement after a Dutch rider's horse died following cross-country on Saturday:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Cavalor Telstar, number 23, owned and ridden by Raf Kooremans, collapsed and died shortly after jumping a good clear cross country round with just a few time penalties in the CICO*** while competing at The Houghton International Horse Trials in Norfolk at approx. 12:10 on 25th May 2013. The horse was experienced and had been jumping well."

Telstar is the second horse in as many weeks to die on cross-country day at a European event. Less than ten days ago, King Artus, the German Holsteiner who was part of the?2012 London Olympic team gold medal?team, died of what is being called an aortic tear at an event at Wiesbaden, Germany.

Telstar's death may complicate negative publicity already circulating in Europe after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a campaign critical of eventing in Germany last week.

Jennifer Kirchner, PETA spokesperson, has been quoted by the German Press Agency and St Georg magazine as saying that?"The tragic death of King Artus prove(s) that these events are too demanding for the horses. Horses are sensitive animals and to make them jump such dangerous obstacles under time pressure is animal abuse".

On May 21, PETA called for an end to the sport of eventing. In an announcement on the organization's PETA Germany web site, the group wrote: "PETA urges all riders to be aware of the dangers that await them and their beloved animals. Every horse owner should (hold) the welfare of his animals at heart, so we ask all eventers, to think carefully whether they want to risk the life of their own and their animals...In addition, we ask all spectators to refrain from visiting such events."

PETA recently failed in an effort to charge the owners and rider of the dressage star Totilas with cruelty in the way the horse was trained and housed.

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Following the German star horse's death, rider?Dirk Schrade wrote on his web site: "We all are deeply shocked and speechless about the tragic loss of King today. At this stage it seems impossible to describe the pain that we all feel about having him no longer with us. There will never be the right words but the countless memories of this outstanding horse with this wonderful soul will remain forever."

Schrade's web site created a moving memorial page to King Artus, which details many of the quirks in the 17-year-old horse's character and behavior at home and at events. King Artus had been with Schrade since 2008.

Kooremans told the Dutch Hoesflag web site that he had jumped off his horse after the finish of the cross-country phase at Houghton and was loosening the girth when the horse suddenly collapsed.

Nina Tuytelaers-Kooremans, wife of the Dutch rider, commented on the Dutch HorsUs web site that Telstar was the only horse she and her husband brought to England last week and that he had enjoyed their undivided attention for five days before his death. "Raf and Telstar never had a refusal together in their impressive career," she wrote. She noted that the horse had been with her husband for the past 13 years.

--by Fran Jurga

Keep up with Fran Jurga's reporting on equestrian issues on her Facebook page.

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