Lauren Hart O’Brien’s retired Pan American mount Wexford was euthanized on Friday, June 11, as a result of a severe tendon injury.
Wexford received the injury while turned out at O’Brien’s farm in Vass, N.C., with two other horses.
The 25-year-old Irish-bred Thoroughbred gelding carried O’Brien to multiple three- and four-star three-day events throughout his career.
In 1995, he was named the U.S. Combined Training Association’s Horse Of The Year after placing fourth at the Rolex Kentucky CCI*** Three-Day Event and third at the Fair Hill (Md.) CCI***. He also competed at the European Eventing Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy, that year. Four years later, in 1999, he placed fifth at the Pan American Games and 12th at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
“He was always all business,” O’Brien said. “He was a brilliant competitor. He would always pull it together and shine at a competition. The more people, the bigger his step got.”
O’Brien purchased the gelding as a 5-year-old. “In his day he was one of the best horses in the country. He won a lot and made a lot of dreams come true. But he was very quirky. He didn’t care for people. He and I had an understanding and a trust between us, but he made it very clear that he didn’t need people,” she said.
“It’s such a huge chapter of my life to let go of,” O’Brien continued. “I know I did the right thing by him. He had a great 10 years of retirement, and I was able to put him down right on the farm.”