National competitive trail mileage record holder Elmer Bandit, 38, passed away Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the pasture of his longtime boarding stable, Misty River Equestrian Center, in Independence, Mo.
Surrounded by several friends and his lifelong owner, Mary Anna Wood, Elmer was attended by J. B. Scott, DVM, of the Odessa Animal Clinic, Odessa, Mo.
Elmer was discovered earlier Sunday, February 14, unable to rise in his pasture. The gray half-Arabian appeared alert and determined to get his hindquarters under him, but the cold north wind and dropping temperatures began to take a toll on the horse. Snow moved into the area and the windchill dropped to around 10° degrees as people worked to assist Elmer and keep him warm.
Scott found Elmer to be hypothermic and honored the decision to euthanize the tiring horse. "This is the hardest part of my job," said Scott of end-of-life treatment and the hard choices facing owners and caregivers of geriatric animals.
"It really hasn’t hit me yet," said Wood.
A necropsy is planned at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine Monday.
Elmer sporting his blanket from his fans at TheHorse.com in 2009.
In September 2009 Wood and Elmer completed the Stephens Forest Competitive Trail event near Lucas, Iowa, which pushed Elmer’s lifetime mileage to 20,780 miles, surpassing the previous record held by Wing Tempo. Elmer won numerous National Championships over his 34-year career.
Rhonda Gregory, DVM, vetted Elmer during his record breaking ride in October of 2009. Informed of his passing, she noted, "He was an amazing horse and a phenomenal testament to good genetics and good care."