Skip to content

Eitan Beth-Halachmy (Updated)

As reported by Bonnie Glasgow on

Tuesday September 28:
Good news continues from Lexington, KY!  While still in critical condition, Eitan is continuing to improve.  There have been no major setbacks - quite remarkable considering the extent of his condition.  The worldwide love and concern have been a great comfort to Debbie and those closest to Eitan.

As many of you know, the medical information from the doctors changes as they gather more data.  I will try to explain what I understand as a layperson.  As it stands now they do not believe that Eitan had a heart attack.  He has irregularities in his heartbeat.  He had multiple bypass surgery 14 years ago.  He is on various medications to treat the condition.  Some of those medications can have side effects.  The blood thinner that he is on can be dangerous when there is an injury.  In Eitan’s case, he had minor damage to his spleen that occurred when he fell off of Santa Fe Renegade at the opening ceremonies.  Because of the risk of bleeding, they removed the spleen early on Sunday morning and left his stomach open to watch for additional bleeds.  Fortunately they did not occur and he went back into surgery Monday morning to close the surgery site.  He was placed in a medically induced coma to prevent him from moving to protect against further bleeding.  He is now being slowly taken off of the coma medications, which will allow him to be removed from the ventilator.  At the moment he is still on the ventilator.  The multiple broken ribs and broken sternum, due to the aggressive CPR, will slow this down a bit but he is making progress.

Eitan has a history of atrial fibrillation, which he has had for years.  Atrial fibrillation is an irregular or abnormal heartbeat. This has been managed through medication.  At the end of the opening ceremonies Eitan went into ventricle fibrillation.  This is in effect, instant death.  The heart stops beating.  My understanding is that there is only a 10% chance of survival from an episode of this.  Eitan was fortunate to have competent help within feet of him as he collapsed.

Yesterday morning Debbie received a phone call from a Doctor who happened to be at the World Games with his wife watching the opening ceremonies.  He is a retired emergency room trauma doctor who was about 30 feet away when Eitan had trouble.  He immediately rushed in to help and started emergency treatment including CPR on Eitan.  His name is Dr Michael Rieser M.D.  We all owe a thank you to Dr Rieser and the other emergency personnel who were at the games to give quality and swift care to Eitan.  He has received excellent care since being admitted to the University of Kentucky Hospital and has been seen by over 24 doctors so far.  The hospital President has been by to speak to Debbie several times as well as other hospital representatives.  After Eitan left for the hospital in the ambulance, Dr Rieser picked up one of Eitan’s dressage whips. It was one of two that he carried that night.  The whips were black and had custom-made brown wood handles.  Dr??? told Debbie that he had one of them and that he wanted to return the whip to Eitan when he was feeling better and be able to shake Eitan’s hand!   We do not know where the 2nd whip is.  If anyone at the event has any information please let me know.

Santa Fe was moved to a close friends farm in Lexington, KY to be close to Debbie.  We walked down to the barn to see Santa Fe this morning before going to the hospital and he is doing well.  Debbie will be keeping Santa Fe with Eitan when he leaves the hospital to help both of them heal.  Santa Fe was not injured but I believe that he is concerned for Eitan as the rest of us are.

The guestbook entries are a great comfort to Debbie and we can’t thank you enough.  I am having difficulty returning all of the phone calls and e-mails.  I am with Debbie and will remain here.  Please do not call her just yet.  She is doing much better and has her appetite back.  She is spending as much time as possible with Eitan.  Feel free to call me if needed however, my phone does not hold calls well in the ICU waiting room and I have to go downstairs to talk.  I can send and receive e-mail from my cell phone only.

Sunday September 26:
Eitan Beth-Halachmy is in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, KY. His condition is critical but stable. Debbie is with him as are several of their friends.

During Opening Ceremonies of the World Equestrian Games, after Eitan and Santa Fe Renegade had completed their group and solo performances, they progressed to the final. Eitan was to have been the last rider to exit the arena during the final, but he cut the performance short and headed out. Just as he got to the gate he collapsed. Fortunately, he collapsed at the feet of the paramedics who immediately went to work as Eitan’s heart had stopped. They revived him, and when he arrived at the hospital he was awake and aware who Debbie was and that she was telling him his time in the arena was the performance of a lifetime.

When Eitan fell he hit a barrier and damaged his spleen, which had to be removed last night to stop internal bleeding. The incredible work of the paramedics, who are the only reason Eitan is with us today, had its difficult side, as these things do. Five of Eitan’s ribs were broken on one side and four on the other.

Today we have been told Eitan may have had a mild heart attack but it could also have had to do with his heart rhythm. His color is good, signs are stable but he is in a medically induced coma (to keep him perfectly still) and will be for the next few days. He will most likely remain in the hospital, here in Lexington, for about two weeks. 

Please keep Debbie and Eitan in your prayers. We will update everyone on as new information is received. Don’t forget to sign the guestbook so we can share your sentiments with Eitan, whom we are sure can hear everything everyone has to say!

As reported by Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald Leader:

The performer who fell ill at the opening ceremonies of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Saturday night was world-reknowned equestrian Eitan Beth-Halachmy.

His condition is listed as critical, according to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.

A family spokesperson said he is in intensive care and that more information should be available for fans later on the Web site

Known for his Cowboy Dressage, Beth-Halachmy slumped off his horse, Santa Fe Renegade, as they left the outdoor arena Saturday night. Medical personnel performed CPR as he lay on the ground.

The spokesperson said the horse is unhurt.

In addition to the opening ceremonies, Beth-Halachmy had been scheduled to teach and perform at the Equine Village later this week. From his Wolf Creek Ranch in Grass Valley, Calif., Beth-Halachmy raises and trains horses in his Cowboy Dressage school of horsemanship, which combines Western and classical methods.

More Stories