It was another sad weekend for the eventing community at Red Hills in Florida on Saturday. My friend Amy's trainer (Jonathan Holling) lost his wonderful horse, Direct Merger, (pictured to the left) to a pulmonary hemorrhage on cross-country. Jon and Monty were short-listed for this year's Olympics in Beijing, and my heart just goes out to him, his wife Jenn, their students and staff, and of course Monty's owner Janet Olsen.
In addition to Jon's loss, Missy Miller lost her horse, Leprechauns Rowdy Boy, when he flipped at a bounce and suffered an immediate fatality. Missy was thankfully unhurt, and perhaps her only consolation is knowing that her horse went instantly, with no pain or suffering. These accidents really hit home the concept of "in the blink of an eye."
Finally, to add to the already sad and horrifying occurrences of the day, former Olympian Darren Chiacchia had an accident in the prelim division, when his horse fell on him, injuring him severely and requiring that he be airlifted from the course to the local Tallahassee hospital. His prognosis is critical, with most of the concern centering around his massive head injury and the possible effects of that trauma.
As I told Amy this weekend, I love eventing and I look forward to each new and exciting competition, but I'm starting to ask myself the question time after time: "Who will it be next?" It's no longer a matter of "if," it's simply a matter of "when."