April 19, 2009

14 horses die prior to Fla. Polo match

Veterinary teams were trying Sunday to determine the cause of death of 14 thoroughbred horses prior to a scheduled polo match in Florida, officials said.

The horses -- part of a Lechuza Caracas contingent brought to the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Fla. -- were being prepared for the start of the U.S. Open Championship match at 3 p.m. EDT, when two horses collapsed and several others exhibited signs of dizziness and disorientation, the club said on its Web site.

Veterinarians from Palm Beach Equine, International Polo's consulting veterinarian group, were joined by others in treating the symptoms and the horses were removed from the club. However, seven of the horses died at the club, a club spokesman told CNN, and seven more died as they were being transported to a nearby horse farm and veterinary facility.

The scheduled match was postponed.

Our hearts go out to team Lechuza Caracas and hope that a speedy answer can be obtained on what happened to their magnificent animals, President of Club Operations John Wash said.

Necropsies and other testing were being conducted to determine the cause of death.

Everybody is kind of in shock and trying to figure out what happened, club spokesman Tim O'Connor told CNN. Nobody can recall an incident in which this many horses have died at once.