A world-class dressage horse treated successfully at the University of Florida (UF) for an irregular heartbeat has rediscovered his rhythm and returned to international competition.
His proud trainer, Kelly Layne, a member of the Australian team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Germany and now a Wellington, Florida, resident, is thrilled with Udon P’s comeback. She hopes he’ll pick up where he left off before his cardiac problem disrupted their training and that the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood will qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“He’s a high-level athlete, but what’s interesting to me is the fact that his owner, in concert with his trainer, embraced his problem, when many people would rather not discuss their animal’s health conditions publicly,” said Chris Sanchez, DVM, PhD, an associate professor of large animal internal medicine at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of Udon P’s care team.
“This horse’s owners took the opposite approach—they have taken this as a learning opportunity and even developed a heart-themed freestyle for his return to competition,” Sanchez said.
Layne attributes Udon P’s success to his, well, exceptional heart.
“Not many horses go through what he has and then fight their way back into the international competition arena,” she said. “We should definitely reward and celebrate the horses that have this kind of moxie.”
Known by his stable name, “Noodles,” Udon P arrived at UF’s Large Animal Hospital in April 2014 as a rising star in the world of dressage. He was competing at the Grand Prix level and had recently won an i