SCNow.com - Full Article
By David Green
The Weekly Observer Editor
Published: December 8, 2008
PATRICK - As the girl exited the arena on her Arabian gelding, a huge smile came over her face. She leaned down, hugged her horse, and told her trainer “I love my horse.” She had just had a spectacular ride, and was rewarded with an incredibly high score of 71% and a blue ribbon. By the end of the day, the teenager and her 9-year-old would have won all three classes they entered.
A sweet, but not unheard of story in the horse world—except that the horse was WH Gibraltar, who just 8 months before had undergone intensive abdominal surgery and was near death.
Flashback to March, 2008: Anna Caroline Chinnes, a 16-year-old Hemingway native, was doing what she enjoys most—competing in the sport of endurance with her horse Gibraltar. Endurance riding entails the same horse and rider competing over a course ranging in length from 50 to 100 miles. The trail is broken up into “loops”, with veterinary checks in between to ensure the well being of the horse. “AC”, as she is known to her friends, was competing for the Region 12 50-Mile Championships held at the Sand Hills Stampede in Patrick, SC.
Gibraltar was the fittest he’s ever been, and he covered the 50 miles effortlessly. They earned a coveted “Top 5” award for the Regional Championships, and AC and her trainer Trisha Dingle were busy preparing Gibraltar for the Best Condition judging. However, something was wrong—once the adrenaline from the ride wore off, Gibraltar acted “colicky”—he had a tummy ache.