Hesselhoj Donkey Boy: Stable or Paddock Accident? Food for Lawyers and Private Detectives

Tue, 11/08/2022 - 10:36
Hesselhoj Donkey Boy at the 2019 World Young Horse Championships :: Photo © Astrid Appels
Disclaimer : One day after Nordjyske published its article with a witness account of the Donkey Boy accident, the Danish newspaper was forced to pull the story offline after the witness withdrew her statement. See notification here

Two weeks after the Swedish equestrian magazine Ridsport broke the news that the highly popular breeding and sport stallion Hesselhoj Donkey Boy sustained a career ending injury days after selling to The Netherlands, the Danish newspaper Nordjyske published an article yesterday evening with different details about the accident. 

Donkey Boy

The 10-year old Danish warmblood stallion Hesselhoj Donkey Boy (by ERA Dancing Hit x Milan) is a premium licensed, elite stallion and performance test winner. He is the quadruple Danish Young Horse Champion and won bronze and silver at the World Young Horse Championships in 2017 and 2019.

Owned by Norwegian Kristin Andresen, Donkey Boy moved from the Katrinelund stallion station to Helgstrand Dressage in March 2020. Two years later, in February 2022, Donkey Boy returned to competition with Anne-Mette Strandy Hansen at two competitions at Inter II-GP level. 

Sold, Then Injured

In June 2022, Hesselhøj Donkey Boy sold to Bartels Academy in The Netherlands for 2.5 million euro, but Andresen was told the horse would be resold to the Japan Riding Association for Kazuki Sado. In the Ridsport article Andresen mentioned that she believes Donkey Boy would be resold for much higher price than the 2.5 million euro.

Ridsport mentioned that Andresen signed the purchase contract on 16 June and received a signed copy back from Bartels Academy on 23 June 2022. According to Andresen the contract stipulates that all responsibility for the horse in transferred upon signing. 

Hesselhøj Donkey Boy got severely injured to the left hind leg in an accident on 29 June 2022. Andresen never received her 2.5 million euro from Bartels.

Two Versions of the Accident

Two versions of what happened are circulating.

In Ridsport, Andresen claimed to have a witness of the accident, who told her a different story than Helgstrand. After the publication of the Ridsport article, the PR team of Helgstrand issued two press releases explaining their version of the accident (it happened in the paddock, nobody saw it, the horse was treated immediately) as well as a new video posted on 29 October 2022 of Donkey Boy  being hand walked at Helgstrand Dressage.

Yesterday Nordjyske published an extensive article in which the version of a witness (a former groom who still had her horse stabled there) is detailed: Donkey Boy was being hand-walked back to his stall, spooked from a blanket that was lying in the box, broke free, and cantered through the corridor, running into a closed gate. Donkey Boy fell and injured himself. According to the Nordjyske article, the former groom said there were several witnesses to the accident, but it is all being kept private.

Neither Helgstrand nor any of the Ridsport/Nordjyske articles disclose if there is a video surveillance system at Helgstrand Dressage that could have filmed the (paddock or stable) accident. 

Lawsuit? "Time and Money to Investigate"

Nordjyske has learnt that a veterinary report from Højgaard Horse Hospital concluded that Donkey Boy's sport career is over.

Andresen told Nordjyske that she will get to the bottom of what happened and is taking legal action against Bartels Academy for not being paid. It is unclear whether she is suing Helgstrand for negligence in care and/or for loss of use, but at the moment different sources in Germany and Holland have printed that Andresen is ONLY suing Bartels Academy.

Nordjyske wrote that Andresen is ready to hire private detectives to solve the case.

"I will use all means," she is quoted saying. "When I am exposed to something where I discover that someone is trying to cheat me, I pursue it. Right to the end. I have told Andreas (Helgstrand, ed.) that he must be aware that I have both time and money. And it's a very bad combination for those who go beyond that."

Nordjyske posted that "it appears from the response in the arbitration case that the Dutch also doubt Helgstrand's explanation about the damage. It is found that this kind of tendon damage can usually only be caused by two things: Either an "acute injury" such as a fall at high speed, or an overload over a long period of time, for example from too hard training."

It is not the first time that Andresen has sued big horse dealers. She has sued Dutchman Brouwer in the sale of KWPN licensing champion Handsome O. The lawsuit has taken six years. In addition, Kristin won the lawsuit about Hanoverian stallion Dario

Disclaimer : One day after Nordjyske published its article with a witness account of the Donkey Boy accident, the Danish newspaper was forced to pull the story offline after the witness withdrew her statement. See notification here

Related Links
Hesselhøj Donkey Boy Severely Injured in Accident Days After Selling to Holland
Hesselhøj Donkey Boy Relocates to Helgstrand for Breeding and Training
Hesselhøjs Donkey Boy Proclaimed Elite Stallion
Hesselhoj Donkey Boy Sold to Norway