Michael Pollard’s team of international event horses was involved in a traffic accident just 5 miles from his training center in Dalton, Ga., on the morning of May 25 when the trailer turned over and trapped six horses on board. Three horses were cut free and survived with lacerations, but Pollard’s new ride, VDL Ulando H, a Canadian Warmblood stallion owned by Ruth Armstrong, died at the scene, and Icarus was euthanized two days later at the Rood & Riddle Veterinary Clinic in Lexington, Ky. Jude’s Law was also euthanized on May 27 after surgery at Rood & Riddle revealed a ruptured secum.
No people were injured in the accident, which was caused when another driver pulled out in front of the truck and trailer without seeing it.
This spring, Jude’s Law won advanced divisions at Pine Top (Ga.) and Southern Pines (N.C.) and finished second at the Jersey Fresh CCI*** (N.J.).
Icarus, or “Fly,” a 14-year-old gray Thoroughbred gelding owned by Michael and Nathalie Pollard, suffered the most serious lacerations and was transported May 26 to Rood & Riddle Veterinary Clinic in Lexington, Ky., for surgery. He had a severed ligament and deep lacerations surrounding his right hind fetlock joint. Despite every effort by Dr. Chris Newton and his team, the extent of injuries presented no other option but to save the horse from further pain. Michael was with Icarus having driven the horse to Lexington.
Michael said, “He was the best horse in the world who just never quite made it—mostly my fault, and certainly not his. He brought me out of relative obscurity. He was just a special soul, and everyone that worked with him felt the same. He was a family member, and it will not be the same without him in the barn.”
Icarus won the 2009 Jersey Fresh CCI*** (N.J.). He finished 19th at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and earned a Land Rover Performance Grant to compete at the 2011 Land Rover Burghley CCI**** (England).
“My heart is really broken,” said Nathalie, who competed the horse through advanced. “I have loved this horse since the day I laid eyes on him eight years ago at the Kentucky Horse Park. He was stunning and radiated beauty from the inside out. He was an exceptional athlete who never once quit or let us down. He was a good man with a heart of gold. He was my friend, and his absence will be felt painfully for some time.”
Schoensgreen Hanni, or “Hanni,” a 9-year-old German Warmblood mare owned by Nathalie, suffered some superficial cuts but is not expected to miss any work in her preparation for the Bromont CCI*** June 8-10 in Quebec.
Carl Bouckaert’s Raphael, who won the Chattahoochee Hills open preliminary division last week, survived with just some bruising and will be given time to recover from the shock before returning to work.
Little Star, a broodmare, suffered cuts to her hind legs and is expected to make a full recovery.
Pollard was not involved in the accident. The horses were being driven by his groom, and according to police at the scene, there was nothing that could have been done to avoid the oncoming vehicle.