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[Updated 5:30 p.m. Sunday May 27] Michael Pollard & John Bryant's 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Jude's Law (Jude), was euthanized on Sunday May 27th 2012 at Rood & Riddle Veterinary Clinic in Lexington, KY. The horse sustained fatal injuries in a traffic accident which manifested this morning, and he was rushed from the Pollard Eventing Training Center in Dalton, GA to the Lexington Clinic. The veterinary team led by Dr. Chris Newton admitted Jude immediately for surgery where he was diagnosed with a ruptured cecum. "This is a nightmare that I can't seem to wake up from. This horse was so special to me and yet at the moment I just feel numb. He looked like he was going to be fine in a few weeks. I am absolutely crushed," Michael said.
Jude joined the Pollard Eventing Team in July 2011. He competed Advanced with his previous rider, Beth Temkin, including Rebecca Farm CIC***, under the ownership of Hilary Bates who rode him at Training Level. With Michael he was runner up at the Richland Park CIC 2* in 2011. This season he won the Pine Top Spring Advanced Horse Trials and the Southern Pines Advanced Horse Trials before going to Jersey Fresh earlier this month to finish runner up in the CCI3*. He was one of twenty horses still in contention for the 2012 Olympic Games and was the third ranked USEA horse through the first half of the year.
Michael & Nathalie Pollard's 14-year-old grey Thoroughbred gelding Icarus (Fly), was euthanized on Saturday, May 26th 2012 at Rood & Riddle Veterinary Clinic in Lexington, KY. The horse sustained serious injuries as a result of a traffic accident on May 25, 2012 resulting in a severed ligament and deep lacerations surrounding his right hind fetlock joint. Following intensive treatment at the Pollard Eventing Training Center in Dalton, GA, Icarus was shipped to Rood & Riddle for surgery. Despite every effort by Dr. Chris Newton and his team, the extent of injuries presented no other option but to save the horse from further pain. Michael Pollard was with Icarus having driven the horse to Lexington.
Michael commented: "He was the best horse in the world who just never quite made it - mostly my fault, and certainly not his. He brought me out of relative obscurity. He was just a special soul and everyone that worked with him felt the same. He was a family member and it will not be the same without him in the barn."
Nathalie added, "My heart is really broken. I have loved this horse since the day I laid eyes on him 8 years ago at the Kentucky Horse Park. He was stunning, and radiated beauty from the inside out. He was an exceptional athlete who never once quit or let us down. He was a good man with a heart of gold. He was my friend, and his absence will be felt painfully for some time."
"Fly" came to the team as a Preliminary horse and successfully ascended to Advanced with Nathalie. Michael took on the ride in 2009. Some of his many notable achievements include winning the 2009 Jersey Fresh CCI***, the Zeppa International Trophy as well a 19th place finish at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, and a Land Rover High Performance Grant to compete at 2011 Burghley. Fly competed at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event just last month.
Ruth Armstrong's stallion VDL Ulando H died at the scene as a result of head and neck trauma. “He was the love of my life, an athlete and a gentleman and deserves a good send off,” Ruth said.
The three horses that survived the traffic accident are all recovering at the Pollard Eventing Training Center in Dalton, GA.
Schoensgreen Hanni (Hanni), 9 year old German Warmblood mare owned by Nathalie Pollard, suffered some superficial cuts but is not expected to miss any work in her preparation for Bromont CCI3* June 8-10th in Canada.
Carl Bouckaert’s Raphael, who won the Chatt Hills Open Preliminary division last week, survived with just some bruising and will be given time to recover from the shock before returning to work.
Little Star, a brood mare, suffered cuts to her hind legs and is expected to make a full recovery.
Michael Pollard's team of international event horses was involved in a road traffic accident just five miles from his training center in Dalton, Georgia the morning of Friday May 25. The trailer turned over trapping all six horses on board. No-one was injured in the accident which was caused by the driver of another vehicle pulling out in front of them without seeing the trailer. Michael was not at home at the time. The horses were being driven by his groom, and according to police at the scene, there was nothing that could have been done to avoid the oncoming vehicle.