Conahys Courage, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Imogen De Lavis and ridden by Kyle Carter, was humanely euthanized at the Red Hills International Horse Trials on March 7 following an injury at fence 12, the Hobbit Houses, on the CIC*** cross-country course.
Carter, of Sparr, Fla., and the gelding had experience to the CCI*** level together.
According to Carter, “Courage” fell on the landing side of fence 12a. “He landed on me on the backside. It wasn’t what would be a standard rotational fall,” he said. Courage sustained a compound fracture to his metacarpal bone below the knee and the decision was made quickly to euthanize him.
Although Carter was landed on, he said he’s doing fine physically.
Carter had ridden Courage from his first novice horse trial and was aiming him at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“Because he was a little bit of a challenge—he probably had more time penalties in his career than any horse I’ve ever had, because I always made sure I thought about being ready for next year and having a sound horse and not being foolish for the short term goal of winning ribbons,” he said.
“It’s hard because for a small string like mine, you spend four years trying to prepare for what is going to be four years [from then] and I really think he was on the cusp of being that horse,” he said. “It’s a big knock that way professionally, but it’s a big knock emotionally for us because he integrated himself into our lives. One of the hardest things is that nobody is going to get to see what an amazing horse he was because I kept him sort of underwraps and was hoping to unleash him.”
An official statement from Red Hills’ spokesperson Tom Barron is as follows:
“It’s with deepest regret that we announce that Conahys Courage, ridden by Kyle Carter and owned by Imogen De Lavis, suffered a catstrophic injury at fence 12a in the CIC*** division at Red Hills. The horse was humanely euthanized and a post mortom examination will be conducted at the University of Florida Large Animal Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.”
De Lavis posted the following message on her Facebook page:
“After the news today, reflecting on how incredibly grateful I am to have had the opportunity to own this little horse and to the Carter’s and associated team for doing such a brilliant and professional job with him. Impossible to forget the first time I jumped him in Ireland and Kyle and I deciding he had to come home right away. So much respect for Kyle Carter, thank you so much for all you did for Courage over the last three years, I couldn’t have asked for a better person for him. Thank you also to Red Hills and the vet team. Rest in peace little horse.”
On March 8, De Lavis posted again on her Facebook page, stating that “Courage” sustained a compound fracture to his metecarpal bone below the knee.
“Thank you all so much for all of the kind words and messages yesterday. Was able to speak to the veterinarian Dr. Michael Porter and it’s clear how well and efficiently the situation was handled. After sustaining a compound fracture to his metacarpal below the knee, Courage was sedated within 3 minutes of the accident and put down promptly following evaluation within about 5 mins. I cannot thank the vet team enough for responding quickly, and especially to Rachele Foote, who, as the Carter’s barn manager, cared for him extensively both at home and at competitions. While this has been entirely surreal, Courage had the best care, and his well being and preparation throughout his career were always the paramount considerations.”