Gulfport, Miss.—March 9
Michael Leon’s derby mount Nil Du Buffant Rouge tore the deep digital flexor tendon in his right fore while competing in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Gulf Coast Classic. The gelding came up lame after landing from the high side of fence 5, a white oxer.
“I watched the video like a million times,” said Leon. “He kind of peeked at the white oxer and just jumped real high, and when he landed he landed on the right lead, so he landed on his left foot, and that first step he took he rolled his foot. It’s a little deep in that one spot, and I think he just kind of got stuck in the grass and tore it and hobbled away.”
Leon immediately pulled the gelding up, and his leg was stabilized with a splint by the show veterinarian before he was loaded onto a trailer in the ring. Leon said the gelding has already been treated with platelet-rich plasma therapy and will undergo stem cell therapy in a clinic back in Georgia, where Leon is based.
The 16-year-old Selle Français gelding (Papillon Rouge—Queensland V, Forseti) got his start in the United States showing in the 7- and 8-year-old jumpers with McLain Ward in 2009 before showing up to the grand prix level with Sarah Baldwin. He first started showing in the hunters in 2015 with Leon and doubled as a children’s and junior hunter. Leon purchased the gelding in 2016 and has been showing him in the high performance hunters this season. The pair are currently ranked second in the national standings.
“It’s a bummer,” said Leon. “He’s a wonderful horse.”