EquiNation Equines-Update July 2020

Welcome to this month's addition of Equination equines, this is where I give you an update on what I've been up to with the horses this month. Now now this month's update is one I wish I wasn't writing. That is because Champion sadly passed away, I will tell you the reason why and also what I've been doing with James to keep busy.

RIP Champion 2009-2020


So this month we have the terrible news that Champion is no longer with us. We were left with very little choice and no options after he was given he was given a less than 1% chance of survival by the vet, the decision was made to put his to sleep and not prolong his suffering.

The Story

So after the lockdown was lifted in Dubai and we were able to go to the stable and start riding again, I set about getting James and Champion fitter. I was still mostly walking Champion and had been for about two week, I had just started to introduce some trot and had only trotted about 3 times with no canter since before the beginning of March at our last show together. I'd ridden him on the Thursday evening and done a little trot and he felt great, (I actually have a video of the trot). So that evening I left him and he was fine. The night watchman at the stable who monitores the horses over night checked Champion around 3.30am and he was fine, happily napping. When his groom started work at 5.30am he immediately noticed that something was very wrong with Champion, he was standing in the stable head down dripping in sweat. Immediately the vet was called, she came out and started Champion on fluids and the decision was made that he needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Getting Champion into the horse box was a big task, he didn't want to move, he literally could not put one foot in front of the other. It took over five grooms pushing and pulling him to get him to move the five meters from his stable to the horsebox. Anyway he was taken straight to Dubai Equine Hospital where he was seen by the expert, his heart rate, breathing rate and temperature were incredibly high, and we were told all the clinical signs pointed to a rupture somewhere in his Gastrointestinal tract. This is the point that he was given less than a 1% chance of survival, and we were given the option to operate and investigate or put his to sleep. Now if we had gone ahead with the operation if would have been only to confirm and find the rupture, due to the clinical signs even an operation would not have been able to repair the damage. So we decided with such poor odds and given how much pain Champion was in the decision was made that the kindest thing to do was to end the pain, and we said goodbye to Champion for the last time.

Champion competing with Arif

It was very sad coming back to the stable after few days and seeing Champions stable empty, however everyone was very supportive and having James meant I had to face it and keep going to the stable, I'm really glad that I have James as it give me something else to focus on.

James VDB

James has been doing really well after the lockdown restrictions, he has put on some weight and is starting to gain muscle. He now back in full work, or as full as it gets in the summer. He goes in the walker for 20 min and in the paddock every morning and is ridden and paddock for 10-20 min every evening. He gets ridden for around 50 min-1 hour, but most of that is done in walk, with about 5 min trot and 5 min canter, broken up into 1 or 2 minute bursts. This is due to the heat in Dubai at the moment .

Over the summer I'm working on James to slow down, be calmer, and maintain a steady rhythm when jumping. If you head over to the EquiNation YouTube channel you will see he can be quite fiery and forward into jumps, he loves to jump and can become quite strong and then ignores the directions of the rider, in the last competition we did before the locked and happened, he actually jumped the wrong jump in the competition because of this. We jumped number 6 and you had to roll back inside number 8 to jump number 7, well James saw the jump in front of him and ignored my instructions to turn and continued to Jump number 8 before he had gone around to number 7. This is why I plan to work over the summer getting him to relax and maintain his rhythm coming into a jump. Now we started with poles, and after just a few weeks he is now maintaining his speed when coming into the poles, we have just started to introduce cavaletti (jumps less than 50cm). He's not speeding into the cavaletti like he did before, however occasionally he will get a little faster and so we will continue to work on this throughout the summer. Unfortunately we will not be able to jump over the summer as its too hot in Dubai, so we will continue to work with poles and cavaletti only.

Stay tuned for next months update.

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