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Vale Flashazz

By: Roger Fitzhardinge

For Lydia Jackson and her family the 2013 Victorian Championships will unfortunately be ones of bitter memories.

As a friend and having helped Lydia over many years I have seen her grow from a pony clubber of great ambition and talent to an International eventing rider, where she was fastidious and very competitive, knocking on the door of Olympic selection with two horses Dutch Treat and Scrumpy Jack for Sydney and Athens respectively. Lydia rode to Grand Prix Showjumping and now is competing successfully to Grand Prix Dressage and has produced several homebred horses to Grand Prix dressage. Lydia has been extremely successful at all disciplines and represented Australia, twice in the Trans Tasman Cup. Lydias mother Cheryl and father Gary run a most successful agistment and training facility at Kingston a short distance south of Hobart where Lydia is a highly respected and successful coach and mentor. She is also a mother of three children under the age of 6!

Lydia is a passionate rider and never leaves any stone unturned and is a regular traveler across the Tasman with horses and made the trip to the Vic Champs with two home bred horses Splendido, PSG Inter I and Flashazz, medium advanced.

Flashazz and Lydia Jackson canter © Roger Fitzhardinge

After a second place on the first day of competition for Flashazz in the Advanced Lydia was ecstatic at this seriously good horses performance and she felt there was more in the tank and was excited to compete at his true level, medium on the Sunday. Saturday saw an easy non-competitive day and all was normal other than Lydia, who monitors all her horses temperatures daily when travelling and away from home, noticed that Edward (Flashazz) had spiked a slight temperature. Being extra cautious, as Lydia always is, she spoke to the vets on the grounds. She was well aware that the following day was a big competition with two tests, and then that night it was a 10 hour trip back across the Tasman on the boat. There was no thought that Lydia would stress her horses and no room here for any chance of a travel sickness. After careful consultation amongst the treating vets it was decided that a wide spectrum IV antibiotic that is commonly used and non swabbable be administered, and if the temp dropped and the horse showed no other signs then all would simply continue as normal. There was no suspicious symptoms and no history whatsoever of any previous illness. Edward was a strong fit, feisty and healthy horse and no wimp being by Just De Pomme.  Edward was only just turning eight and at the prime of his life.

Flashazz and Lydia Jackson © Roger Fitzhardinge

Edward stood calmly with no angst at all whilst being given his medication by a wonderful experienced and competent vet. Unfortunately unbeknown to any person Edward was to react adversely to the drug and simply lay down and was dead within seconds. There was nothing that could be done.

It is simply devastating and Lydia and her family would like to thank all who have sent their wishes and condolences. They would especially like to say that the event organizers were professional, calm and organized in such a totally overwhelming time. Their attitude and actions towards the horrendous incident made the situation somewhat easier. They would especially like to make mention that Deb MacNicol was of enormous support and strength.

Flashazz and Lydia Jackson trotting © Roger Fitzhardinge

Flashazz was as his name suggested. Edward was tough, an amazing mover, powerful and athletic with a will to work. He was working on all the grand prix movements of which he really found none hard, and showed a serious talent in piaffe and passage. I was lucky enough to see this wonderful horse in training and from foal to magnificent dressage horse and he was one exhilarating experience, not only for me to watch and Lydia to ride but for the future of Australian dressage. Horses of this caliber and training are rare and I can only say how saddened I am at this unbelievable tragedy. I was a huge fan and know that Edward will never be replaced nor forgotten. For Lydia and all who were a part of Edward’s life we hope that you may find a way around this as hard as it will be.

Life is precious and ride and live every day as if it could be your last. Never look back. Upwards and forwards. As tough as it is, winners take time to relish their work, knowing that scaling the mountain is what makes the view from the top so exhilarating. The climb is tough and when a total tragedy as this occurs it is only the tough who get up and keep climbing even with a saddened heart.

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