UPDATE: Anne Gribbons Comments–CABANA BOY EUTHANIZED AFTER CATASTROPHIC INJURY IN TURNOUT

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2009 Developing Horse champion Cabana Boy ridden by Chris Hickey. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
2009 Developing Horse champion Cabana Boy ridden by Chris Hickey. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

COLORA, Maryland, Aug. 23–Cabana Boy, U.S. National Champion as a five and six year old and Developing Horse and a top prospect for the American team at the 2011 Pan American Games, was humanely euthanized Monday following what Hilltop Farm described as a “catastrophic injury while in turnout.”

In a news release entitled: “Cabana Boy ~ Goodbye to a Champion,” Hilltop Farm said about the eight-year-old gelding said:

“It is with great sadness that Jane MacElree and Hilltop Farm share the news that on Monday, August 23rd Cabana Boy was humanely euthanized following a catastrophic injury while in turnout. Cabana Boy’s well-being, comfort, and quality of life were the focus of each discussion and decision and a team of veterinarians was consulted to discuss all possible options and outcomes.

“The consummate showman with a larger than life personality, Cabana had the unique ability to draw fans wherever he went.”

Anne Gribbons, the USEF Technical Advisor, said: “All of us who spend our lives with horses sooner or later get to experience the devastation of suddenly losing our equine companion, and it is always a heartbreak. In this case it was not only a lovely and talented animal, but also the pride of Hilltop Farm.

“Cabana Boy was a homebred Champion, basically undefeated during his entire career, from showing in hand to the Young Horse Championship, and on his way to a an almost guaranteed spot on the Pan American team next year.

“When I helped Chris Hickey warm up before the freestyle at Gladstone, I am glad I could not look into the future. What I saw was a gorgeous young horse performing with confidence and pride, and that is the image that lingers on my mind. Our sincere sympathy goes to his rider and owner, but I also feel sorry for all of us who will not ever see Cabana Boy perform again.”

Cabana Boy was one of America’s brightest hopes having been ridden by Chris Hickey to the five-year-old U.S. championship in 2007, the six-year-old title in 2008 and then in 2009 as a seven-year-old captured the U.S. Developing Horse title that is for seven to nine year old horses.

On Regent, Chris won both team and individual gold at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2007, success and experience that was expected to be extremely valuable in 2011.

In the horse’s inaugural U.S. Intermediaire Championship at Gladstone, New Jersey earlier this month, Cabana Boy finished third and Chris said he was aiming the horse for next year’s Pan American Games in Mexico that could be critical for the U.S. being able to field a team at the 2012 London Olympics if they do not finish high enough at next month’s World Equestrian Games.

Cabana Boy was bred by Doug and Shannon Langer of Wisconsin, and sired by Hilltop Farm’s stallion Contucci and out of Britania (Bordeaux-Weltmeyer). Hilltop Farm acquired Cabana Boy early in his yearling year.

Since then, Hilltop Farm said, Cabana Boy has been unstoppable in his accomplishments including:

2002
Site Champion of American Hanoverian Society Foal Inspection in Wisconsin
2004
Dressage at Devon ~ Colt Champion, Young Horse Champion, Reserve Grand Champion
2007
Champion of East Coast Selection Trials for FEI World Breeding Championships
Represented the US at the FEI World Breeding Championships in Verden, GER
USEF/Markel FEI 5-Year Old National Champion
USDF Horse of the Year ~ FEI 5-Year Olds
USDF All-Breeds (AHS) Champion ~ FEI 5-Year Olds
2008
Champion of East Coast Selection Trials for FEI World Breeding Championships
USEF/Markel FEI 6-Year Old National Champion
USDF Region 1 ~ 3rd Level Champion
USDF Horse of the Year ~ FEI 6-Year Olds
USDF Reserve Champion ~ Third Level Open
USDF All-Breeds (AHS) Champion ~ FEI 6-Year Olds & Third Level
2009
Qualified for & Competed at USEF Intermediaire I Championships
USEF Developing Horse National Champion
Dressage at Devon ~ Highest Scoring US-bred in CDI competition
USDF Horse of the Year Standings ~ ranked 7th for Prix St. Georges & 14th for Intermediaire I
USDF All-Breeds (AHS) Champion ~ Prix St. Georges & Intermediaire I
2010
3rd Place at USEF Intermediaire I National Championships.

Cabana Boy ridden by Chris Hickey in the horse's last competition, the Intermediaire Championships earlier this month. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Cabana Boy ridden by Chris Hickey in the horse's last competition, the Intermediaire Championships earlier this month. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“A shining star for Hilltop Farm, US sport horse breeding, and US dressage, Cabana Boy’s loss is felt by many.  He has touched us all deeply and his passing leaves an enormous hole in our hearts,” Hilltop Farm said.

“Jane MacElree, Chris Hickey, and the staff at Hilltop Farm would like to express their sincere appreciation to the veterinarians at New Bolton Center who guided us through this crisis, as well as the veterinarians at Unionville Equine and Dr. Amy Rabanal who have worked closely with Cabana Boy over so many years.”