I couldn't believe I was reading about another horse death cross country this afternoon.

Kingpin, the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding ridden by Canadian Mike Winter, died today after falling on the cross country course at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

Event organizers released the following statement:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Kingpin, ridden by Mike Winter and owned by the rider and Kingpin Syndicate, died while competing at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event on April 25, 2009. Kingpin, a 13-year old Irish Sport Horse, fell while negotiating Fence 10 and died at the scene.

"The rider was evaluated by medical personnel on site and sent to Georgetown Community Hospital for further evaluation.

"Veterinary and medical personnel were in attendance at the time of the fall. The cause of the horse's death will be announced when determined after a necropsy."

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It doesn't say much for the future of the sport! There has to be a sollution found soon. Is there video of the fall , to see what happened. We really do need to make some changes, generational changes at the lowest level, so there is a future for eventing .
It is indeed sad and now I hear an Irish eventer, Ian Olding, has died after an accident in Britain. I read that Kingpin had blood in his abdomen, it wasn't the fall that fatally injured him.

I must say, as someone who was interested in starting in this sport, I find myself extremely hesitant, given all these catatrophes.
again, this sport seems extremely dangerous.... I'd hate to lose my horse at 13. :(
Perhaps some disciplines are pushing too hard, unnecessarily. Remember Christopher Reeves. It might be time to step back and reassess the reasons why we do this thing called competition.
There must be a solution to cross-country crazzieness! What if there was no limit and then the best time at the end of the day wins?! I don't know... I read an article in one of my horse magazines and it said that the sport is at risk of being ended, competition wise. I can't say if that's a good idea or not.
It's always disheartning to hear of a death. It makes young riders become more fearful of cross-country.
when are they going to make those courses safer for horses and riders?.. tragic.
Everybody who rides competitions over fixed fences knows the he/she is risking his/hers life and the life of the horse! its their own fault!
Just ask a few steeple chase jockeys, to get a complete picture. They may have the right to risk their necks.
Just make sure you don't do it yourself.
I certainly don't allow my children to do it and I don't let my horses do that.
I admit I did it about 20 years ago myself, but fortunatley enough I came to my senses before anything bad happend.
The fence doesn't need to be fixed for a tragedy. I'd enjoyed a brilliant jumping lesson, one lovely spring evening a few years ago, over a course of hunter fences when, during our last round and at the very last fence, the horse I was on took a long spot, tipped the rail with her front feet, landed on it with one foot, lost her balance, flipped over and landed heavily on her right side (throwing me 20 feet in the other direction in the process). She never got up. She'd broken her right elbow and had to be euthanized. Needless to say though I have jumped since the joy I used to feel when doing so has gone. When I feel my horse needs a change of pace from dressage I have a young rider pop him over some low fences for me.

Sometimes these episodes, as in my case, are simply freak accidents. I have no experience eventing so I cannot comment on that. Sometimes when you go for broke, however, that's exactly what you get. ;-)
“King Pin suffered a hemorrhage of the large vessels in the abdomen unrelated to any jumping effort or trauma,” said Dr. Christiana Ober, the Canadian Eventing Team veterinarian. “This is a very rare condition and the actual cause is unknown.”

According to a US Eventing Association study on safety:
YEAR 2008
Total Starters at USEA National Competitions 41,294
Number of Recorded Rider Falls on Cross-Country 518
Number of Mandatory Retirements (MR = fall of horse) 65
Total Number of Falls 583
Number of Recorded Injuries at Cross-Country Fences 101
Rider Fatalities 0
Chances of a fall per # starters 1 in 71
Chances of Falling Off at a Cross-Country Fence 0.071%
*Average number of Fences Jumped per Year 825,880

(*Based on average of 20 fences per course per starter.) (Injuries include bruises, winded, concussions,
broken bones) (Starters = total number of horses competing annually)
In 2008, there were 17 injury reports submitted for falls taking place on the flat and not
related to jumping a fence. There were a total of three serious injuries requiring overnight, or
longer, stays in hospital which amounts to .007 percent of all starters or 1 per 13,764 starters.
There were also three equine fatalities which is also .007 of all horses starting in competition
or 1 per 13,764.
Of the 65 Mandatory Retirements, 7 were at Beginner Novice, 13 at Novice, 11 at Training, 20
at Preliminary, 10 at Intermediate, and 5 at Advanced.
Some data from external, non-verified sources. Data subject to error and intended to show trends
and pinpoint large outliers—not for detailed use.

I wonder how other sports compare! Several years ago when I was purchasing life insurance the agent asked me if I barrel raced along with smoking and not getting exercise as part of his big list of potential insurance risks. He didn't ask if I jumped!
eventing is certainly a challenging sport....very skill intensive. That said, there is a tremendous amount of attention paid to safety. Lots of people are trying to make changes to improve safety, however, the ultimate challenge is in continually improving the skills and fitness of horses and riders. Think about helmet safety....I have heard of some horrific accidents that killed riders and sometimes horses just from a slip and fall or spook or whatever when someone was walking around. We who enjoy our horses all have to sign liability waivers....why? because horses are big, strong, fast (and wonderful!) and we can get hurt when we are involved with them. I certainly hope that eventing doesn't get abandoned as a sport....it is a tremendous challenge with its roots in training cavalry officers to do a great diversity of things.


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