On June 17, Hyperion Stud LLC’s stallion Campbell VDL had his tail cut off by an unknown suspect at the Country Heir II show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Trainer Jonathan Yates reported the incident to show management, who told him it would be reported to the police. According to Yates, someone entered the gray Holsteiner’s stall somewhere between 8 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday and cut off the entire length of his tail.
“You can see the lines of the scissors. They made about five cuts, which removed the whole density of his thick, beautiful gray tail,” he said.
The 8-year-old stallion had been stabled with four other horses under Yates’ care. Those horses were not harmed, and there were no signs of foul play. Campbell VDL (Cassini I—Nele IX) had competed over the weekend in the jumper division with Candice King, finishing seventh in the $15,000 Welcome Prix.
“He’s a young up-and-coming stallion that was brought into the country at the beginning of this year and has progressed under the riding of Candice King. He has about 300 babies on the ground in Europe. [King] has a lot of belief that the horse can potentially compete at the top level,” said Yates. “We have no idea if it’s a vendetta against the owner, me, the rider or staff members.”
This is the first time Yates has experienced an incident like this, and he hopes to be more prepared at the next show.
“I’d seen the stall watch cameras on people’s barns this weekend and thought it was overkill, but now, maybe it’s not. With us having stallions, it’s something we may have to consider for the protection of our animals,” he said. “I don’t think the show itself is to blame. They’re as shocked and upset by this as anybody else.”
Attempts to contact show management went unanswered, and Kentucky Horse Park security hadn’t been informed of the incident as of June 19.