Photo: Henry Bucklow/Lazy Photography via Wikipedia
The American eventing community lost a bright star on Saturday when Allison Springer’s top horse, Lionheart, was euthanized after complications from a colic episode. He was in the care of the Palm Beach Equine Medical Center (PBEMC) after surgery when the decision was made to put him to sleep.
When Lionheart didn’t recover as expected, the veterinary team made the decision to perform exploratory surgery. According to veterinarian Dr. Bob Brusie, the horse had suffered a rare set of circumstances in what had originally seemed to be a simple impaction.
“The horse had excellent care and there was nothing in the history that would explain the vascular accident that comprised the small intestine and then over time went on to overwhelm the cecum and large bowel,” Brusie said. “This sort of vascular accident, similar to a stroke, is very unusual in my experience.”
According to a statement released over the weekend, Springer spent most of the past week by Lionheart’s stall at the PBEMC.
“This was one of the most challenging and heartbreaking weeks of my life,” said Springer. “Lionheart dealt with this as the true champion he was, never giving up. In the end, when the time came… there were no more options. I’m very appreciative of the tremendous veterinary effort made to save Lionheart.”
Lionheart was a member of Great Britain’s silver-medal winning team at the 2012 Olympics with rider William Fox-Pitt. In November 2013, Springer along with the Team Lionheart Syndicate LLC purchased the horse with the aim of qualifying for this year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Springer is best known for her successful longtime partnership with her own Irish Thoroughbred, Arthur, the second-place finisher at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.