Rollover Accident Kills Three Upper Level Eventing Horses

Three upper level eventing horses ridden by international rider Michael Pollard have died and three others are under treatment for injuries sustained during an early morning traffic accident on May 25.

Pollard's spokeswoman Chris Stafford said the incident occurred at 7 a.m. on Hwy. 255 just south of Chatsworth, Ga., a few miles from the Pollard Eventing Training Center in Dalton, Ga. The horses were being transported from Georgia to Kentucky for routine veterinary checks, Stafford said. Law enforcement and fire personnel from Murray County, Ga., along with Georgia State Police responded at the scene.

A Georgia State Police spokesman said the incident occurred when the driver of another vehicle, Roberto Hernandez, failed to yield to the tractor trailer driven by groom Natalie Hummel. Hernandez was cited for failure to yield at a roadway intersection, the spokesperson said. Stafford said that to her knowledge, Hummel was not ticketed in connection with the incident.

One horse, VDL Ulando H, died at the scene, Stafford said, while five others were cut free from the damaged trailer and initially survived the incident.

Of those survivors, two were later humanely euthanized as a result of injuries sustained in the incident. On May 26, Icarus, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who had sustained a severed ligament and deep lacerations surrounding his right hind fetlock joint, was euthanized at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., Stafford said. The following day, Jude's Law, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding manifested incident-related injuries and was transported to Rood & Riddle for surgery, Stafford said. Veterinarians diagnosed the horse with a ruptured cecum and subsequently euthanized him, she said.

Pollard said the loss of the horses is devastating.

"This is a nightmare that I can't seem to wake up from," he said.

The remaining horses, Schoensgreen Hanni (team Gold Medalist from the 2011 Pan Am Games with Pollard), Raphael (an advanced level event horse), and Little Star (a broodmare) are receiving treatment for minor accident-related injuries and are expected to recover, Stafford said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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