US eventer Buck Davidson has lost his two-star horse Santa’s Keeper following an injury sustained at the Ocala Horse Properties Horse Trials on January 12.
The eight-year-old thoroughbred gelding had showjumped well in the Open Intermediate division at Ocala, but appeared to be stiff in his off-side hind leg afterwards.
Davidson told The Chronicle of the Horse that by the time he had taken the half-hour van ride to his barn, “he was quite painful and quite lame”.
The following day, the area behind his flank swelled up. Ultrasounds and X-rays failed to show any injuries, and after several days Santa’s Keeper could no long bear weight on the leg.
He was euthanised on Thursday.
Veterinarian Dr Nathan Mitts of Peter & Smith Equine Hospital said the necropsy revealed that Santa’s Keeper had sustained “a rupture of his right quadriceps muscle and right transverse abdominal muscle, presumably during his round of show jumping on Saturday, January 11. The severity of these muscle injuries, the corresponding internal hemorrhage, and the onset of support limb laminitis proved too much for us to overcome.
“We regret to inform that Santa’s Keeper was euthanized today as his condition deteriorated. Simon was brave and stoic to the end, and he will be missed.”
Davidson told the Chronicle: “He was the sweetest, most beautiful, easy horse. He just aimed to please. Nathan said to me when he called, ‘That was one cool horse, Buck. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done because I’ve never seen a horse that wanted to live like that’.”
Santa’s Keeper – known as Simon – was bought off the Keeneland racetrack as a Christmas gift when the gelding was a three-year-old. Davidson then gave him to Carl and Cassie Segal as a Christmas gift.
Santa’s Keeper placed second at both Bromont and Ocala CCI2* events last season.