In a malicious attack that garnered nationwide news coverage, five top American Saddlebreds were injected with an unknown, necrotizing (tissue-killing) substance the weekend of June 28-29, 2003, at Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky. These were five of the most valuable horses at the 30-stall facility. The injuries were discovered the morning of June 30, and in the following weeks, three were euthanized due to complications

Cats Don't Dance's injury
ANNE EBERHARDT PHOTO
The foreleg injury of Cats Don't Dance is shown on the left in a July 2003 image. Cat was one of five American Saddlebreds attacked during the summer of 2003 in Central Kentucky. Shown at right is his area of injury a year later.

from their injuries. One of the survivors, a filly named Sassational, was back in training by late July. The other survivor, Cats Don't Dance, had a lengthy recovery at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee veterinary hospital in Lexington (now called Hagyard Equine Medical Center). The gelding was able to start back in training in late September, and returned to the ring to place second in his class at the United Professional Horsemen's Association/American Royal National Championship in Kansas City, Mo.

More than five years after the attacks, there have been no arrests, and many questions remained unanswered. The case generated a $100,000 reward offer, state legislation, lawsuits, and continuous investigation.

The following articles on this topic are listed in reverse order (latest first).

 

 

 

 

Plaintiff Would Cooperate in Saddlebred's Exhumation
The owner of the ranch near Versailles, Ky., where an American Saddlebred was buried after brutal attacks led to his eventual euthanasia, has expressed in court documents that she would cooperate with requests that the horse's body be exhumed if the horse were to be reburied at her farm and other conditions were met. Additionally, the lawyers of both parties in the case have been instructed to prepare for a settlement conference and pre-trial conference next June.

10/15/04

 

   

Affidavits Supporting Saddlebred's Exhumation Submitted
The owners of Wild Eyed and Wicked, one of the American Saddlebreds attacked and subsequently euthanatized after his condition debilitated in the summer of 2003, have asked again that the horse's body be exhumed from its burial site on Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky. The exhumation issue was held in abeyance at the conclusion of an Aug. 13 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky hearing pending receipt of affidavits that would indicate that the proposed exhumation would not hinder or interfere with the criminal investigation of the attacks and that the veterinarians who treated the horse do not have any blood or tissue samples in their possession.

9/30/04  

Saddlebred Won't be Exhumed--Yet
The recent motion by Sally and Joe Jackson to have Wild Eyed and Wicked exhumed for further investigation was heard today before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and it will be "held in abeyance" pending further information. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Hood, the presiding judge, said that if he received affidavits from Commonwealth's Attorney Gordie Shaw or the veterinarians involved with the case stating that valuable information could be gleaned from the exhumation, then he would reconsider his position. Scott Beeler of Overland Park, Kan., one of the attorneys representing the Jacksons, said they will immediately obtain the documents requested in order to revisit the motion.
 

8/13/04

Motion Filed in Federal Court to Exhume Saddlebred
A motion was filed on Aug. 2 for a court order to exhume the body of the sabotaged American Saddlebred Wild Eyed and Wicked from its burial site on Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky. Lawyers on behalf of Sally and Joe Jackson filed the motion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington.
 

8/3/04  

Saddlebred Attacks: One Year Later
July 17 marks the one-year anniversary of the deaths of the first two American Saddlebreds near Lexington, Ky., that succumbed to injuries resulting from attacks on their left forelegs. Only two of the five attacked horses survived the ordeal, one of which made a dramatic comeback last fall to win second place in a major competition. During the past year, the attacks have generated a $100,000 reward offer, state legislation, multiple lawsuits, and continuous investigation.
 

7/17/04

Court Order to be Requested to Exhume Maimed Saddlebred
Scientists might have a chance to necropsy the body of the champion Saddlebred euthanized July 17, 2003, and buried following a brutal attack that left him too lame to stand. According to the deceased animal's owner, Sally Jackson of Overland Park, Kan., and Lexington, Ky., lawyers are getting ready to file a federal court order on her behalf to exhume the body of Wild Eyed and Wicked from its burial site on Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky.
 

7/9/04

Litigation Filed in Saddlebred's Death
Sally and Joe Jackson, the owners of two Saddlebreds whose legs were injected with a caustic substance last June (click here for more information), have sued the farm where the horses were boarded for negligence, misrepresentation, and breach of contract, according to an article in today's Lexington Herald-Leader.
 

3/3/04

Sabotaged Saddlebred Healed and Back to Work
Cats Don't Dance, one of the two Saddlebreds which survived malicious attacks in late June, is sound and has been started back under saddle, according to his owner, Sally Jackson, of Overland Park, Kan., and Nathan Slovis, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, the horse's treating veterinarian at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee veterinary hospital in Lexington, Ky. The 6-year-old gelding and four other Saddlebreds at Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky., were injected with a necrotizing substance in their left front forelegs in late June.
 

10/8/03

Remaining Saddlebred Recovering Well
Cats Don't Dance, the remaining injured Saddlebred under veterinary treatment at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (HDM) Associates in Lexington, Ky., is recovering well and might be returning home sometime next week, according to his treating veterinarian.
 

8/12/03

Hospitalized Saddlebred Continues to Heal
The one sabotaged Saddlebred still under treatment is recovering well, according to two veterinarians who have been treating the horse at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (HDM) Associates in Lexington, Ky.
 

7/30/03

Update on Two Surviving Saddlebreds
Cats Don't Dance, one of the two surviving American Saddlebreds injected with a caustic substance several weeks ago, was recovering yesterday (June 21) at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee Associates (HDM) in Lexington, Ky.
 

7/22/03

Catastrophic Wounds and Treatments
Two novel methods of wound treatment were used on five valuable American Saddlebreds attacked and injected with an unknown caustic substance in the back of their left front pasterns on June 30.
 
7/22/03
Third Injured Saddlebred Euthanized
A third Saddlebred that was the victim of an attack with a caustic substance has been euthanized. Kiss Me, a 4-year-old mare, was euthanized Friday (July 18) as a result of injuries related to the lethal injection of an unknown substance.
 
7/21/03
Saddlebred Attack Turns Deadly
(Updated) Two of the American Saddlebreds attacked and injected with a caustic substance in their left front pasterns were euthanized early today (July 17) in Versailles, Ky.
 
7/17/03
Injured Saddlebreds Continue Treatment: One Still in Critical Condition
Five American Saddlebreds injected with an unknown caustic substance several weeks ago continue to recover from their injuries under the care of several practitioners.
 
7/16/03
Reward in Saddlebred Case Grows to $100,000
A reward has been offered for information about those who intentionally injured five American Saddlebreds in Versailles, Ky. USA Equestrian, the national governing body of equestrian sport, is offering the reward.
 
7/14/03

Injured Saddlebreds Under Continual Treatment: Growth Factor and Hyperbaric Therapy
The five American Saddlebreds that were injected with a caustic substance the weekend of June 28-29 are on the road to recovery, according to Ric Redden, DVM, founder of the International Equine Podiatry Center in Versailles, Ky.
 

7/11/03

Five Saddlebreds Injected With Damaging Substance Under Treatment
The five American Saddlebreds that were injected with an unknown substance and suffered serious injuries as a result continue to recover at Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky.
 

7/4/03

Five Saddlebreds Suffer Injuries After Mystery Injections
The Associated Press reports that five American Saddlebreds in Versailles, KY, including one former five-gaited world champion, suffered life-threatening injuries after their pasterns were injected with an unknown substance.
7/3/03

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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