After competing at the U.S. Equestrian Federation show jumping selection trials for the Olympic Games in Wellington, Fla., Karl Cook and Rich Fellers prepared to return to the West Coast, where both riders are based. But when they got on the plane, it was with a much lighter load than they’d intended after almost all of their tack and equipment was stolen.
The tack trunks were packed and ready to go on March 26, so Guy Thomas and another employee of Fellers moved them to the end of the driveway of Jennifer and Mike Crooks’ farm in Wellington. The pair returned to the barn to finish preparing for the trip and get the horses. About 20 minutes later, they realized all of the equipment was gone.
Fellers, 52, said the police told them something similar had happened a few days prior. The theft occurred in the middle of the day, and Fellers surmised several people were needed to move the heavy trunks.
Although they filed a police report, there are no suspects currently.
The stolen items include almost everything Cook and Fellers traveled with including saddles, bridles, riding boots, saddle pads, spurs, helmets and the horses’ passports and health papers.
“I think it was just really unlucky,” said Cook, 21. He is working on replacing passports for Jonkheer Z and ASB Conquistador, his mounts for the selection trials.
Fellers said he contacted his insurance company, the U.S. Equestrian Federation and his sponsors in an attempt to get reorganized. Currently, paperwork for McGuinness and Flexible is missing.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to pull everything together for the [Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosh, the Netherlands],” Fellers said, adding the horses are scheduled to leave in less than two weeks.