Fire survivor and a possible Olympian: A horse named Neville

Cross-posted from the New York Times

Written by MARY PILON

Neville cheated death — twice, Boyd Martin said, referring to the time he purchased Neville (the horse was an unwanted Thoroughbred headed to slaughter)and then the fire. It’s a miracle. Photograph by John Haner/NYT

AIKEN, S.C. — The horses’ straw beds were ablaze, with the rest of the barn, when two men rushed in against the flames and black smoke to try to save the 11 horses inside.

“It was horrific,” said Boyd Martin, the trainer. “Basically, you could see some of my horses burnt to death.”

Six were dead. Four others escaped. Neville Bardos, a chestnut gelding and the last living horse in the barn, was found in a corner. They heard him gurgling.

Neville’s throat and lungs were scorched from smoke inhalation, and other parts of his body were burned.

From that scene about seven months ago, Neville, who competes in the multidiscipline sport of eventing, has managed a competitive comeback that defied any prognosis from doctors, his owners and others in the equestrian world. He was the top American horse at a prestigious competition in England just three months after the fire, and has had strong showings in several other events.

Now Neville is among three finalists for international Horse of the Year, to be given Friday by the United States Equestrian Federation to the “horse that has excelled above all others in equestrian competition.”

“And then there’s Neville Bardos,” Joanie Morris, a federation spokeswoman, said. “We’ve never seen anything like him.”

Read the inspiring story in its entirety here >>

3 thoughts on “Fire survivor and a possible Olympian: A horse named Neville”

  1. Why isn’t there a law on the books in every state that requires overhead fire sprinklers in all barns where horses are stabled? I can’t believe that fire inspectors in all of these states don’t insist on this. Most of the horses in stable fires are killed, very few are saved. This horse and the other four were very lucky.


  2. This story should be sent to every news media !!! Every newspaper in America, lets not let Nevilles Story stop here, lets share him with the World !!!!


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