The United States Polo Association released this statement today regarding yesterday's unprecedented, unexplained and very sudden deaths of a group of internationally-ranked polo ponies at a high-level finals match in Wellington, Florida:
The United States Polo Association is participating in an investigation to determine the cause of death of over 20 polo ponies that died prior to a polo match on Sunday, April 19 at the International Polo Club-Palm Beach, located in Wellington, Florida.
The cause of death for these horses will not be determined until after the Florida State Department of Agriculture completes necropsies and toxicology testing on the affected animals.
There has been much speculation and rumor concerning the cause of death however, according to Dr. Paul Wollenman, who was on the scene and led a valiant rescue effort with many local veterinarians and polo players to save the stricken horses: "Based on initial, overwhelming clinical evidence this medical event was isolated to the Lechuza barn and horses and the initial evidence shows no infectious element."
Peter Rizzo, Executive Director of the United States Polo Association (USPA) stated: "This is an unprecedented equine medical event that occurred this past Sunday, April 19. We are actively working with the management of the International Polo Club-Palm Beach, state and local veterinarians and state and county regulatory agencies including the State Department of Agriculture and Palm Beach Country Department of Animal Care and Control to determine what caused these horses to die.
"While there is much speculation as to the cause of death, we will have to wait until the Department of Agriculture completes its tests and releases its findings to the owners of the horses. In the meantime, we all mourn the loss of these horses. There are no words to describe the grief and sadness shared by everyone--particularly the devastated owners of those magnificent horses."
A similar statement was issued from the International Polo Club - Palm Beach.
Click here to read yesterday's post on The Jurga Report about the Wellington tragedy, written as the details were trickling in.