Aortic Rupture Suspected in Olympic Show Jumper's Death

Aortic Rupture Suspected in Olympic Show Jumper's Death

Crumley had just bought "Basil" back in September 2012, after having sold him in 2008.

Photo: Courtesy Georgie Crumley

International show jumper and Olympic mount Wonderboy III has died, most likely from a cardiac condition leading to aortic rupture, according to his owner.

The 14-year-old gray Belgian Warmblood gelding collapsed under saddle Jan. 7, said Georgie Crumley of Crumley Equestrian Group in Alfold (Surry), U.K.

"I was cantering on the gallops with him when he suddenly felt exhausted," Crumley said. "I immediately brought him back to walk where he felt very wobbly, so I jumped off of him. As soon as my feet touched the ground, he collapsed."

The horse had had some performance issues recently, often underperforming after two days of competition, according to Crumley. "His third day was terrible, just like he was so empty," she said. "I do know that some horses have off days, but that just was not the sort of horse he was."

Veterinary evaluations at the time were inconclusive, Crumley said. Although no necropsy was performed, Crumley said the likely posthumous diagnosis was probable aortic weakness, ending in rupture.

Attending veterinary hospital Kings Park Equine Clinic in West Sussex declined to comment, citing privacy concerns.

Wonderboy III won the Rolex Grand Prix show jumping title in Zurich, Switzerland, in January 2010 under then-owner/rider Ben Maher. The horse competed in the 2012 Olympics in London under his new owner and rider, Ahmad Saber Hamcho of Syria. The pair finished in 62nd place individually.

Crumley had just bought "Basil" back in September 2012, after having sold him to Maher in 2008.

"When we actually went to collect him in September, it was almost surreal," she said. "And every day since then I just thought to myself, 'I am the luckiest person in the world to not just have my horse back, but to have my best friend back with me.'"

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More