Sunday, February 05, 2012

New Zealand: Endurance horse deaths prompt review - Full Article


The deaths of two horses involved in a national endurance riding competition have sparked a review by the country's governing body for equestrian sports.

One horse died during the Endurance National Championships near Turangi last year and another shortly after.

Equestrian Sport New Zealand (ESNZ) said the 13-year-old bay gelding Twynham El Omar was euthanased towards the end of the championship's 160km race, having failed the second-to-last veterinary inspection.

The horse had represented New Zealand at the 2010 world equestrian games in Kentucky.

Another horse, 8-year-old gelding Miro Astair, failed the last horse inspection and was taken to a nearby equine vet before being taken home.

He died from complications several days later.

Auckland-based endurance rider Keith McLeod said the sport was very well-managed and last year's event was an anomaly.

"Horses take years of conditioning to get to that distance, with lots of graduate steps along the way.

"You can't just jump in and do 160km. And even then they do it in five to six loops with a 40 to 60 minute hold in between.

"[In that time] they're thoroughly vet-checked for gut sounds, lameness, heart-rate, anything.

"If anything is not right they're vetted out...

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