Prognosis Good For Cool Connection

May 17, 2012 - 9:27 AM
Cool Connection, one of Will Coleman's mounts in the Jersey Fresh CIC***, sustained a horrific accident on cross-country, but he is expected to make a full recovery. Photo by Lisa Slade.

Will Coleman’s mount Cool Connection is still recuperating at the New Jersey Equine Clinic after his accident at the Jersey Fresh CIC***, but the horse is expected to make a full recovery.

Cool Connection, a 12-year-old Oldenburg (Just Spectacular—Arranda, Randazzo II) gelding owned by Jim Wildasin and Tivoli Farm, started out on the Jersey Fresh CIC***, held May 10-13 in Allentown, N.J., course in eighth place. At fence 7—a skinny after a drop—the horse drifted right over the fence, knocking the top of the flag down into the ground in front of him. He then impaled himself on the other end of the flag as he was landing. The flag went in at his sheath area and came out near his anus.

“I don’t think he had any idea what had happened,” said Coleman, Gordonsville, Va. “He bucked really hard and ended up turning himself over. We somersaulted to the ground, and the next thing I knew I had the horse on top of me, and he gets up and runs away. I saw what was remaining of the flag sticking out the back of him. The horse took off, and I found a jump judge to give me a ride back to the barns thinking he’d go there. Sure enough, he was in the aisle when I got there. It was hard to determine what we were going to do. We were extremely fortunate to have Dr. Scott Palmer from the New Jersey Equine Clinic at the event, and he got there not long after I did.”

“Noodle” was taken to the New Jersey Equine Clinic for surgery to remove the flag—one piece was 16 inches long—and all the loose fragments. He’ll stay at the clinic, where he can spend time in the hyperbaric chamber there, until sometime next week.

“I thought the horse was in a good place, and he’d been through so much I didn’t want to move him. He still has a gaping wound, and we’ll know more as it heals up,” said Coleman. “I think [the prognosis is] good. There’ll be a lot of scar tissue, but we’re hoping it won’t affect the muscle groups we really need him to use. Dr. Palmer feels the horse should be able to make a full recovery. How it did not pierce any of the arteries back there is amazing. There are tons of arteries, but all of his major organs were fine, and even the muscle damage was limited. If you could call it lucky, it was very lucky. It could very easily have killed the horse.”

Coleman, 28, is now calling for a new flagging system on cross-country.

“I think if this doesn’t provide enough impetus for [changing the flags] then nothing will,” he said. “It has killed one horse [at the 2007 Badminton CCI**** in England] and very nearly killed another. I don’t know what they’re waiting for. Someone has to take the bull by the horns and pass rules to ensure the flags meet certain standards. The odds are so slim that it’s like being struck by lightning and, to a certain extent, that’s probably the way a lot of events have looked at it, and I can’t say I blame them. But it doesn’t change the possibility of it happening, and I think that’s everyone point. I don’t care if it’s a one in a million chance.”

Category: News

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