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Sunday, April 19, 2009 

Horrifying news in the sport of Polo

I have spent a number of summers watching the polo matches out at the Santa Barbara Polo Fields. It really is an exciting game and both horse and rider are true athletes. Bringing a picnic basket out to watch the chukkers...and perhaps drink a few yourself of the Pimm's varietal, is a lovely way to spend a lazy summer Sunday.

However, a horrifying event took place down in Palm Beach, Florida just before the showdown matchup at one of the sport's top events. Numerous polo "ponies" quite literally keeled over and died. It's just too heartbreaking.
In front of a stunned, hushed crowd at International Polo Club Palm Beach, veterinarians tried feverishly today to save expensive polo ponies from death before the featured game of the U.S. Open polo tournament.

Fourteen horses, worth as much as $1 million on the Venezuelan-based Lechuza Caracas team died before their scheduled game against Black Watch.

Two other horses are being treated at the Palm Beach Equine Clinic. Another horse is being treated at the Lechuza complex close to the stadium.

When the horses started getting sick fieldside and collapsing about 45 minutes before game time, stadium officials announced that the polo match was cancelled and an exhibition game would be played instead.

...When the horses started collapsing, veterinarians ran cold water on their chiseled, well-bred bodies to try and revive them. Fans that shoot a fine water mist were also used to get their body temperature down. Intravenous tubes were inserted to help them breathe.
- Orlando Sentinel

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