Lafite On The Mend After Freak Accident At Fair Hill International

Oct 25, 2019 - 5:01 PM
Liza Horan's Lafite sustained numerous injuries after getting loose on cross-country day at the Fair Hill International, but he's expected to make a full recovery. Allie Conrad Photo

Liza Horan’s Lafite, who sustained an injury during the cross-country phase of the Fair Hill International CCI4*-L on Oct. 19 in Maryland, was discharged from New Bolton Center (Pennsylvania) on Friday, Oct. 25.

“I just read [Dr. Maia Aitken’s prognosis] when I picked him up, and it is expected for him to have a full recovery, which we were very unsure of on Saturday after the incident on the cross-country,” said Horan.

Horan and Lafite were at the midway point on course, at fence 15, when the accident occurred.

“The horse was having a super round,” said Horan, 45. ” When we went to leave the ground, he grabbed his left front shoe, and I felt him take-off, and it was almost as if his left foot was nailed to the floor; he just couldn’t get his front leg off the ground. He hit the front rail of the oxer very hard. I don’t know exactly how he didn’t fall.

“I’ve actually never fallen off [him],” she continued, “so I think he got very scared when I fell. The details of what happened after I fell off of him are really fuzzy; it was hard to get a first-hand account. Whatever it was, he got himself into an enormous amount of trouble and ended up somehow getting himself from the cross-country side of Gallaher Road onto the stabling side of Gallaher Road, sort of through hedges and wire, and then through a parking lot. By the time he actually got back to the stabling area, he looked like he’d been hit by a semi-truck. He was in terrible shape.”

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Liza Horan’s Lafite was taken to Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center after he sustained an injury during the cross-country phase of the Fair Hill International CCI4*-L. Photo Courtesy of Liza Horan.

Lafite sustained severe lacerations from the shoulder down. After he was examined by on-site veterinarians, he was transported to New Bolton. Lafite underwent surgery hours after arriving, and a radiocarpal joint lavage was performed to prevent infection in the lacerations.

“There were some lacerations that were over areas that were really concerning because we didn’t know if they involved the joints or not,” said Horan.

“He responded fantastically to treatment,” she added. “They were able to do all of his sutures while he was under, which probably made that much easier.”

Horan, who bred and started her now 12-year-old Holsteiner (Linaro—Sundrift Sandal, Brogan), will begin the commute back home to California’s Santa Ynez Valley tomorrow morning with Lafite.

“Dr. Aitken was great. She understood that we had a very long journey ahead of us, so I wanted to make sure that we minimized the risk,” said Horan. “She was conservative on keeping him there and making sure he was really set to travel. She felt comfortable that he’s good to go. He looks fresh and ready to ride around the cross-country at Fair Hill again; I wish I had a do-over. It was such a beautiful cross-country course and so well designed.”

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