Allison Springer's mount Lionheart was euthanized Jan. 18 due to complications from colic. Lionheart, owned by the Lionheart Syndicate LLC, initially underwent colic surgery on Jan. 13.
“Lionheart was under the care of Dr. Bob Brusie and Dr. Kathleen Timmons and the staff of Palm Beach Equine [in Wellington, Fla.], who worked tirelessly during the last week giving emergency and supportive care to the horse around the clock,” said Springer in a statement on her facebook page today, Jan. 18. “A team of experts consulted on the complex colic case during the week and finally it was decided to re-explore the abdomen this morning. Upon further exploratory surgery, it was obvious that despite his valiant battle Lionheart would not survive. Allison was with him stallside for long hours every day and most nights during his struggle and ultimately made the final decision with collaboration of her veterinary team.
"Dr. Bob Brusie commented on the cause, 'The horse had excellent care, and there was nothing in the history that would explain the vascular accident that comprised the small intestine and then over time went on to overwhelm the cecum and large bowel. This sort of vascular accident, similar to a stroke, is very unusual in my experience,' ” continued the statement.
Lionheart was previously ridden to the four-star level by Great Britain's William Fox-Pitt, most recently finishing fourth at the Luhmühlen CCI**** (Germany), and Springer obtained the ride on the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lancer III—Silbrose, Sacramento Son) in November.
“This was one of the most challenging and heartbreaking weeks of my life," said Springer. "Lionheart dealt with this as the true champion he was, never giving up. In the end, when the time came, there were no more options. I’m very appreciative of the tremendous veterinary effort made to save Lionheart.”