It with enormous regret that Equestrian Sports NZ announces the tragic news that in consultation with expert veterinary advice New Zealand endurance representative horse for the FEI World Equestrian Games, Barack Obama, has been euthanised today.

It is without doubt a devastating loss for the owner Mark Round, rider Jenny Champion and support crew Shane Dougan, John Stevenson and Kirstine Campbell who made the decision today.

Equestrian Sport NZ High Performance Director Sarah Dalziell-Clout said the entire team was devastated by the loss but none more so than those closest to the horse which had developed a kidney condition.

“Jenny and her team prepared the horse exceptionally. As with all NZ horses at WEG, Barack was under the best of care for more than 18 months prior to the games to ensure he was at optimum health,” said Mrs Dalziell-Clout.

“He passed a comprehensive vet test prior to leaving NZ and was in good health leading into the race, passing the first two vet checks at the competition. Leading into the race the team vet Nick Page was confident the horse was race-ready.”

Mrs Dalziell-Clout described Jenny as a true horsewoman. She had felt something was not right with Barack, and pulled him up immediately, well before the race was cancelled. She sought medical assistance and the horse was treated as soon as possible.

“Our thoughts are with Mark, Jenny, Shane and John, Kirstine and the entire endurance community in NZ who will be devastated by the news,” said Mrs Dalziell-Clout.

The team would like to thank the vets at the Tryon Equine Hospital and on-site at the WEG venue, their care and advice was exceptional.

In accordance with FEI General Regulations a post mortem will be conducted and samples will be taken from the horse.

For more information about the ride itself please see the attached release from the FEI.