Flashpoint, a gelding competing in an open preliminary division at the Fair Hill International Horse Trials (Md.) with Susan MacRae, died after completing the cross-country course on April 21.
According to MacRae, the 20-year-old gelding crossed the finish line after a double-clear round and started going down. Despite immediate veterinary attention, he died shortly after. “He had just given me the most fabulous cross-country run ever. He was absolutely foot perfect through the whole course, really confident and galloping within himself,” she said. “He was jumping well, and he crossed the finish line and started to swim and just collapsed. He went down so slowly and was still galloping. I thought he had a leg injury. He had had a little bit of a puffy leg the day before, and we had the on-call vet ultrasound it, [and he was fine].”
A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of “Tip’s” death.
MacRae and her husband, Duncan, bought the gelding sight unseen as a 4-year-old steeplechaser. When Duncan started him, he’d never evented before, but together, they climbed the levels, completing the Radnor Hunt CCI** (Pa.) in 2003.
Susan, Kintnersville, Pa., had been riding the Thoroughbred gelding (Regal And Royal—All Times, Al Hattab) for a year.
Last year, Tip had eight months off after having a keratoma tumor removed from his hoof, but he recovered well, and the pair moved up to preliminary in the fall.
“He was just an amazing, amazing cross-country horse. He loved it. He was kind of that old-fashioned Thoroughbred. He could gallop all day,” Susan said. “He was in great shape. Nobody believed he was 20 when they saw him. I really wanted to do [the preliminary three-day at Hagyard Midsouth (Ky.)] long format to prove that older horses can still get around.”