Ocala, FL - After topping the leaderboard on the first day of 2* Single Horse dressage competition at this week's Live Oak International combined driving event, Suzy Stafford made the difficult decision to withdraw her Morgan mare PVF Peace of Mind from the remainder of the show.
"In the best interest of the welfare and safety of Hunny, I have decided to withdraw her from the Live Oak International competition. After recently making the decision to try a new farrier, unfortunately it created some soreness in her feet," she explained. "I'd like to emphasize that the new footing in the Live Oak arena for dressage was perfect, consistent and predictable, and we had a lovely test. But I still felt like something just wasn't quite right. After consultation with my vet, I decided to be safe rather than sorry and did not feel it was in Hunny's best interest to run a marathon at this time. I will take her home and have her checked out and continue to plan for the National Championships in Southern Pines next month.
"The management of these elite equine athletes is critical," Stafford continued. "It is a huge undertaking that goes into campaigning a successful FEI horse from a good training plan, proper equipment, and a personalized management plan which includes everything from veterinarians, farriers, chiropractors, nutritional needs, grooming habits, turn-out and stabling, and of course keeping stock of all their favorite treats!
"I have owned Hunny since she was three years old, so I know her very well: I know when she is feeling good or in a bad mood, I know when something is not right, and I've also learned to trust my instincts," Stafford concluded. "Therefore, after careful consideration I decided to withdraw Hunny because I felt she is not 100% comfortable and I want to take the time needed to fully resolve any situation. It's unfortunate because Live Oak is one of my favorite competitions, but our ultimate goal for this year is to compete on the U.S. Team at the FEI World Single Horse Championships in The Netherlands in August, and I felt that this decision was in the best interest of Hunny's short-term welfare and long-term success."