Oasis, one of the world's top show jumpers, died last week at Brazilian rider Rodrigo Pessoa's training center in Belgium.
On the 24th of May, grooms discovered that the horse was ill. Immediately, a team of veterinary experts from Europe, Brazil and the USA were at work to save one of the champion?s main horses.
Oasis is owned by Hunter Harrison's Double H Farm in the United States; according to Pessoa's statement, Harrison stayed in touch by telephone as decisions were made on the horse's treatment and prognosis.
Sadly, the horse on whom Pessoa won the Grand Prixs of Faalsterbo, Lanaken and Brussels in 2006 and many important qualifiers during the Winter Equestrian Festival in 2007, did not respond to treatment and died that evening.
Famed trainer and rider Nelson Pessoa, father of Rodrigo, was on hand to oversee the effort to save the horse.
Rodrigo Pessoa commented on his web site:
"It is in these moments that we realize that there are things which we cannot control and that are more important than the day to day problems. I am extremely sad with the loss of one of the best horses. I have had in all my career. He was known as a small horse, but his courage and qualities surpassed everything. Life goes on and we will look for other horses of his quality to be able to compete for the victories."
Pessoa cancelled his participation in the Wiesbaden show jumping events in Germany last weekend. He was expected to leave for the United States shortly later last week.
Information for this post was provided by the Pessoa stables.
Post script: Phelps Media Group in Florida is reporting that the cause of Oasis's illness and death was Equine Herpes virus (EHV-1). The horse competed at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida this winter, site of a much-publicized outbreak of the disease, although the disease is believed to be prevalent at many sites and to be carried in a dormant state by many horses. Because EHV is handled differently in Europe it may not be clear how the disease would be diagnosed, if the stable is quarantined or how the test results, if positive, would affect Pessoa's other horses and the future of his competition schedule. I am trying to contact the Pessoas again and will update this post. Thanks to our globe-trotting friend Sandy Johnson for her help with this sad news.