Report Of AHSA Investigation Into Horse Fatality

The American Horse Shows Association(AHSA) published on Sept. 13, 1999, the report of its findings in the investigation into the death of the horse "Barnum," ridden by John Williams at Fair Hill CCI*** in 1998. It concludes that the post mortem revealed the horse died of acute pulmonary hemorrhage and there was no evidence that it was fatigued during the cross-country phase of the event. The investigative panel found that John Williams was a responsible rider and in no way culpable in the death of his horse.

The incident happened on October 25, 1998 during the cross country phase of Fair Hill CCI*** event, Maryland. The investigation showed that the horse was galloping strongly towards fence 29 until approximately four or five strides before the fence. The horse hit the fence and fell into the ditch, then emerged standing after twenty seconds. The horse walked fifteen seconds before he reared and fell down. The horse did not attempt to stand again and died on the ground shortly thereafter.

One of the official course veterinarians arrived within four minutes with the horse ambulance arriving almost immediately afterwards.

The investigating panel comprised: A. Kent Allen, DVM., Chairman; Linda L. Allen; Derek Di Grazia; Katharine E. Jackson and Valerie Kanavy. The panel studied numerous documents and videotapes together with reports from the veterinarian, emergency personnel, and the post mortem examination.

The panel also concluded that the response of emergency services of Fair Hill CCI*** was executed in a timely and appropriate manner with regard to the incident. The statement of Brian Ross, President of the Grand Jury and the enquiry panel which convened on Oct. 25, 1998 was accurate.

The AHSA is the U.S. National Federation and Governing Body for the equestrian sports of Combined Driving, Dressage, Endurance, Eventing, Show Jumping, and Vaulting. As America’s largest multi-discipline and multi-breed organization, the AHSA has over 70,000 members and recognizes more than 2,600 competitions nationwide each year. The AHSA also represents 18 breeds and other equestrian disciplines. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at AHSA competitions.


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