This page is designed for equine enthusiasts to come together and read about and share experiences they have had. The love of horses is one that is shared by many people so feel free to comment or just read about other peoples experiences and their favorite equine friend.

About Me

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I have been riding horses for 10 years and I am an active member of the United States Pony Club. I own 3 horses and I am an HB in the Pony Club rating system. I enjoy eventing, dressage, and instructing younger club members but love to do anything dealing with horses. Currently, I am studying animal sciences and hope to use this to increase my knowledge of horses.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Nightmares of Importing

Most horse people look at importing horses as such a luxury that only people with money are able to afford. Unfortunately, the lady I have been training with for 11 years now had a horrible experience with importing a horse from Sweden. She was interested in finding a horse that could compete at the top levels and thought of importing as the best way to make that happen.

She worked with many high class, top of the line trainers and after a trip over to Sweden, she thought she found the perfect one. This trip was a week long trip of looking at horse after horse with these trainers trying to figure out which one would be the perfect fit for her. Apparently, she rode at least five horses everyday and had a very hard time choosing which one she wanted to bring home. But, at the end of the week, she had picked a Swedish warmblood mare named Bella.

So, the process began of getting Bella over to Indiana. Once Kate, my trainer, came back there was still a lengthy process of quarantining Bella over in Sweden for a few weeks and then also quarantining her over here in the States for a few weeks. This time period is just used to reduce the risk of spreading any diseases from Sweden to the United States. This time was very hard for Kate because she was like a big kid and just wanted her "new toy" to be over here so she could play.

That period of waiting was over, and it was finally the day Kate could go pick her up and bring her home. You could feel the excitement in the air around the barn to see this "magnificent, Swedish princess". You could only imagine my dismay when I had to call Kate while she was on her way back with Bella and tell her that she couldn't bring her back. The reason for this was that one of the other horses at the barn had decided to get sick that day and no one really knew what it was. I didn't want to take any chances, so I decided to warn Kate and let her do what she wanted. She didn't want to take any chances either after spending so much money to get her here, so she stopped and waited a couple days before bringing her home.

Bella was amazing! She was so talented and even made Kate learn a thing or two in order to keep up with her training. Whenever Bella was being worked, everyone would drop everything just to watch this horse's way of gracefully gliding over the ground making it look like her feet never touched the ground. After about a year though, everything went wrong.

Bella started coughing a lot when she was worked, so Kate had a few tests done. It turns out, Bella was allergic to almost everything that was around her. This "Swedish princess" turned into a "Swedish pain in the butt". She had to be on a special diet, in a special stall, with special bedding. Unfortunately, things got worse instead of better. The only option was to bring her to Purdue for a surgery that would help her get over the allergies. The operating team knew something wasn't right after the first incision. During surgery, Bella's stomach literally exploded due to excess amount of pressure and she passed away.

This story is not a normal story of how imports normally end, but it does show that things can go wrong no matter how much money or time you put into a horse. Everyone at our barn still looks up to this horse and speaks about her with the utmost respect. She taught everyone alot and needless to say, I don't think Kate will be importing another horse anytime soon.

1 comment:

  1. What a sad story. I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through all the work of finding the horse only to loose it. It’s too bad the girl did not make it, she sounded like a gorgeous animal. I’m glad this is a general rarity when it comes to importing, but what terrible luck to have this happen to a person you know.

    It is amazing that people will actually go to such lengths to find the perfect partner. I think it would be a fun yet taxing trip to travel so far to look at horses, and what a disappointment it could be if you didn’t find one!