Vets believe that the injuries sustained by Kauto Star in a field accident last week were exacerbated several days after his initial fall.

The record-breaking National Hunt star was put down on Monday (29 June).

The 15-year-old gelding broke his neck and pelvis and was put down when he developed further complications of pneumonia and laminitis.

Kauto suffered the injury at home at event rider Laura Collet’s yard in Lambourn last Wednesday (24 June).

However, after treatment by the yard vet he was taken to Valley Equine Hospital late on Saturday night (27 June) when the injuries were “failing to respond satisfactorily to treatment”.

His injuries included a complex fracture to the pelvis and a fracture at the base of the neck.

It is still unclear exactly what caused the injury. Connections believe he might have tried to jump something.

However, in the past few days there has been some debate from the public on the time frame and speculation on what might have happened, prompting a further comment from the vets to the Racing Post yesterday.

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Yard vet Tom Campbell told the Racing Post that they believe the horse tried to jump out of the paddock, but fell and landed on his left side.

“We were worried he had a pelvis fracture,” he told the paper. “However, with injuries like that you are reluctant to move a horse to hospital as the more you move him the more you can make him unstable, so he was placed on box rest and cross-tied.”

However, they believe the horse then went down in the cross tie twice on Saturday.

Hattie Lawrence, treating vet at Valley Equine Hospital, said she believed there was a “material change in his condition” on Saturday. She said he had becoming “increasingly wobbly” over Sunday and Monday, to the point he couldn’t stand.

She told H&H today (Thursday 2 July): “The additional information was put out there as a clarification regarding timescales.

“He got down [on the cross tie] on Saturday before I’d seen him and almost certainly as a result of this his injuries from Wednesday were exacerbated at this point.

“The injuries in his neck were there but not yet apparent until then.

“The complications [laminitis and pneumonia] arose from him having to stand in the same position for a prolonged period of time, the only way to keep him safe.

“He was being treated with anti inflammatories and antibiotics and managed in a way to keep him and calm and quiet.

“It is unusual to have neck and pelvic injuries simultaneously but in any horse racing or falling this could occur.”

  • Heather Hunter

    From what I have been told he was playin with another horse in the field with jumps and he attempted to jump a jump but didn’t quite make it

  • Adam Walker

    now i wish people would get a grip, its not going to change anything is it

  • Judith Van Doren

    Don’t they have equine ambulances with x-ray capability? We have one here. Just a question. Not sure I agree with how details handled, but can’t change it now, it is what happened. So sad for him to have suffered, and he did suffer, based on what we are told here in this posting. I had experience with mare who became unable to move without grooms holding her up; moved her outside, so she would not cast in fall and get cast in stall. Neck area had become infected with a bruise then it pinched nerve in neck. Vet determined probable stone bruise from rolling and it took time to erupt. Had to put her down. Vets were very thorough and had enough help to examine. But it all happened within hours, not days. Does not sound like they knew, in Kauto Star’s case, the full extent of his injuries, from beginning.

  • claireannejames

    How did they not find the neck break immediately? why was he not given full body scan? Don’t buy the argument about not moving him. Also with a pelvic injury why was he not supported by a sling. Surely he should have gone straight to equine hospital been scanned and PTS without this long delay and then pain and suffering from laminitis and Pneumonia. Surely that’s what most owners would have done?

  • Samantha Illingworth

    why curious?? i had a horse come down in the field and fracture his pelvis – we did exactly the same thing with him – box rest and cross tied – fortunately for us he didn’t try to get down and the complication of the neck injury – he made a good recovery after months of box rest – we made the decision to get him to the vets by trailer as soon as he’d done it but i wish we hadn’t – it caused him so much pain and stress – we should have put him straight on box rest – so sad for this wonderful horse to end his days like this but horses are fragile creatures that break easily! Our thought should be with all those connected with him 🙁

  • Gina Stone

    Curiouser and curiouser

  • ImReallyAnElf

    What a very sad way for such a wonderful horse to end his days.