Miraculous eventer Neville Bardos is USEF horse of the year

He made an incredible fight back from life-threatening injuries sustained in a stable fire to finish seventh at Burghley.

Now Boyd Martin’s eventer Neville Bardos has won the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) horse of the year award for 2011.

The Australian thoroughbred was recognised at the USEF’s annual awards on Friday (13 January). He was the joint winner of the award with Friesian show horse Sjoerd.

In the early hours of 31 May 2011 Neville was one of 11 horses trapped in Boyd’s stables when fire broke out.

Six died and four, including the eventer, were taken to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Neville’s throat and lungs were so badly damaged by smoke inhalation he was “gurgling” and he had burns across his body.

It was initially thought if he pulled through he would be retired.

But after sessions in an oxygen chamber, Neville was released from the vet hospital on 7 June.

It was soon clear he would not be happy as a field pony, and just three months after the fire Neville was placed seventh at Burghley.

And now he looks set to be on the US eventing team for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

His amazing fight back from injury was Neville’s second close shave. Boyd bought him for just $850 as a failed racehorse.

“He was headed for slaughter for dog food,” Boyd told the New York Times.