Nine-time world champion CH Gypsy Supreme, an American Saddlebred show horse who lived in the Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions since 2001, was euthanized last week because of laminitis as a result of Cushing's disease. He was 23.
Laminitis is an inflammation in horses' hooves that often makes it painful for them to stand. Cushing's disease is an incurable hormonal malfunction.
Kathy Hopkins, equine director for the Kentucky Horse Park, said in a news release that X-rays taken after a sudden downturn in the horse's condition showed severe lack of circulation in both front feet.
"Due to the severity and the fact that we had reached the point where we could no longer maintain a reasonable level of comfort, our veterinarian recommended euthanasia. Our team was in full agreement that this was the right decision on Gypsy's behalf," Hopkins said.
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Gypsy was euthanized on the morning of Dec. 22, surrounded by people who loved him, according to the park.
"Gypsy was an outstanding representative of his breed in our Hall of Champions, but beyond that, he was a cherished member of our park family," park Director John Nicholson said. "The Saddlebred world has lost a great show horse, his fans have lost a legend, and our park has lost a fine friend."
In the 1990s, during his show career, the five-gaited horse won numerous show titles, including nine world championships.
After his retirement to the Horse Park, Gypsy became a fan favorite. Because his stall was near the walkway to the Hall of Champions, he spent a lot of time each day with his head out the window, greeting visitors. Consequently, Gypsy became one of the most photographed horses at the park.
He has been buried at the Hall of Champions with other famous Saddlebreds. The park requested that donations in Gypsy's memory be made to the Laminitis Institute at the New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania. For more information, call (610) 444-5800.