Saddlebred Attacks

In a malicious attack that garnered nationwide news coverage, five top American Saddlebreds were injected with an unknown, necrotizing (tissue-killing) substance the weekend of June 28-29, 2003, at Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky. These
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In a malicious attack that garnered nationwide news coverage, five top American Saddlebreds were injected with an unknown, necrotizing (tissue-killing) substance the weekend of June 28-29, 2003, at Double D Ranch in Versailles, Ky. These were five of the most valuable horses at the 30-stall facility. The injuries were discovered the morning of June 30, and in the following weeks, three were euthanized due to complications

Cats Don't Dance's injury
ANNE EBERHARDT PHOTO
The foreleg injury of Cats Don’t Dance is shown on the left in a July 2003 image. Cat was one of five American Saddlebreds attacked during the summer of 2003 in Central Kentucky. Shown at right is his area of injury a year later.

from their injuries. One of the survivors, a filly named Sassational, was back in training by late July. The other survivor, Cats Don’t Dance, had a lengthy recovery at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee veterinary hospital in Lexington (now called Hagyard Equine Medical Center). The gelding was able to start back in training in late September, and returned to the ring to place second in his class at the United Professional Horsemen’s Association/American Royal National Championship in Kansas City, Mo.

More than five years after the attacks, there have been no arrests, and many questions remained unanswered. The case generated a $100,000 reward offer, state legislation, lawsuits, and continuous investigation.

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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