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Equine LOTR star dies

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TV3 in New Zealand has reported that the lead horse of The Black Riders, Frodo Baggins, has been euthanized in Kentucky after suffering serious injuries during the cross country portion of a 3 day event. In a related update, Blanco (Shadowfax) has moved to the US.

New Zealand thoroughbred Frodo Baggins - named after the Hobbit character after performing as the leading Dark Rider horse in the 'Lord of the Rings' films - has been killed in the US.

"The entire eventing community is deeply saddened by the loss of this incredibly brave horse," the US Equestrian Federation said today in a statement.

Frodo Baggins was one of two horses euthanized after suffering serious injuries during the cross-country phase of the Kentucky Three-Day Event at the weekend. The New Zealand horse and his American rider Laine Ashker fell at a fence. Ashker suffered multiple injuries, including a badly broken jaw, broken ribs and clavicle, and collapsed lungs. Frodo Baggins was immediately treated, stabilised and taken to an equine medical institute but was put down when tests showed he had a fracture at the base of his skull, as well as a severe lung injury.

Ashker bought Frodo Baggins five years ago after viewing pictures of him on the internet, even though the gelding had never previously competed in the sport.

"Although Frodo had never done a stitch of eventing in New Zealand, he was no stranger to success and more importantly, vast audiences," Ashker said recently. "In addition to filming the movie over a course of eight months, he also paraded around New Zealand for fans, met the prime minister of New Zealand, and even walked down the red carpet at the premiere of the film with Elijah Woods".

Another New Zealand horse, which featured in the 'Lord of the Rings' movies, Blanco - the white Andalusian horse which played the sorcerer Gandalf's horse Shadowfax - also moved to America. Blanco worked for four years on the Lord of the Rings movies and two years on the set of the Hercules television series, but has recently performed in equestrian shows.

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Well, Bummer! It's hard to lose a friend like that, movie star and fellow traveler in the LOTR series. Competing in those types of events is dangerous for man and beast. I hope his owner/rider is going to recover without permanent damage. Sad day for the animal community.

Louise

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What sad news. It was best, with the amount of injury. I hope the rider recovers quickly.

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Such sad news about Frodo Baggins. We will keep him close in our hearts. He shared in a grand adventure and will always be remembered for the part he played. I hope his rider recovers quickly.

Barbara

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Prayers go out the rider and the equine community. I know it was a difficult decision but the best for the animal. I wish a speedy recovery for the rider.

Thanks for the news.

glenna

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Frodo Baggins will live forever in our memory. :heart:

I hope Laine Ashker will recover from the multiple injuries and the loss of his equine friend.

brigitte

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How very sad. Best wishes to Laine Ashker–sounds like he was really beat up badly from the fall. One wonders how these things happen with such experienced riders and well-trained animals.

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I'm in tears here.

I once had a horse who did some eventing many years ago. It's a very dangerous sport where horses have to jump solid fences they've never seen before at a full gallop. Only the rider sees the course ahead of time. The three phases were patterned after the training used by cavalry horses.

I am so very sorry for Frodo, and sincerely hope Laine recovers completely. I have shivers that the horse was named after Frodo. :blow:

Beth

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Here is a link to a story in our local paper here in Kentucky. It also includes a picture, so I did not post it as it is of the actual fall. The story is from today's paper if want to read on the updates about this story. The rider is actually a girl and an Olympic hopeful.

I have always wanted to go and watch this event, but I am always afraid that something like this would happen and I don't really want to be on hand to see such a thing in person. And in this particular, situation with the horse being from LOTR, it would have been especially hard.

Frodo, may you ride the wild winds of heaven.

http://www.kentucky.com/211/story/389828.html

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