Horses

Horse named after Barack Obama dies at World Equestrian Games in N.C.

Jenny Champion of Team New Zealand rode in the Endurance Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018.  Her mount, Barack Obama, was euthanized Thursday after suffering kidney problems.
Jenny Champion of Team New Zealand rode in the Endurance Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. Her mount, Barack Obama, was euthanized Thursday after suffering kidney problems.

Trouble has continued for the FEI World Equestrian Games, which are being held in North Carolina this year.

On Friday, the FEI announced that a horse that had been ridden in the endurance championship had died.

A 20-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding named Barack Obama was euthanized Friday because of kidney problems, the federation said in a statement.

The FEI said the horse, who had competed in endurance events since 2009, was owned by Mark Round and ridden by Jenny Champion of Team New Zealand.

He was taken out of the competition on the second loop of the 120-kilometer ride and brought to the on-site clinic, then transferred to the Tryon Equine Hospital, according to the release.

Barack Obama was far from the only horse that developed health problems as part of the competition, which officials decided to stop on Wednesday. The heat and humidity, combined with rain-soaked trail conditions, were causing too much exertion for the horses, veterinary officials ruled.

Heels Down Magazine shared a video of a press conference Friday in which FEI authorities said that of the 95 horses that started the endurance competition, 53 needed veterinary treatment, including 32 that required IV fluids.

Other problems have plagued the games too.

Before the endurance competition was canceled, a dispute erupted because some riders were misdirected on the first leg of the course.

On-site housing for grooms wasn’t finished in time for the start of the events, so they were sleeping on bunk beds in tents.

And attendance has been down.

Now, rain delays are in the forecast for the games, which are being held about two hours west of Charlotte, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C.

As Hurricane Florence battered the North Carolina coast, officials adjusted this weekend’s schedule because of heavy rains forecast for Saturday evening through Sunday.

The organizing committee announced late Friday night that they planned to move the final jumping phase of the eventing competition to Monday and to reschedule Sunday’s dressage freestyle for Monday.

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