Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. Recreation
  3. Equestrian

Tragic passing of Little's RF Smoke on the Water

See also

For those of us who witnessed RF Smoke on the Water finish fifth in the very intense 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event that just took place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, we are devastated to hear of his passing. I can't imagine how those who have taken care of this impressive grey feel about this tragedy.

More Photos

His rider, Marilyn Little sent the word out in a blog/press release and part of the details are as follows:

“It is with incredible difficulty that I relate news of the tragic passing of my cherished partner RF Smoke on the Water.

“Along with four other RF Eventers including his close stablemate RF Demeter, 'Smoke' had just returned to our summer base at Raylyn Farms in Maryland to begin a well deserved holiday following a brilliant weekend at Rolex, where he produced two double clear performances in cross country and show jumping. Two days after his arrival, during a late-morning habitual roll in the new bedding that had just been placed in his stall before he went out for the day, Smoke became cast against the wall and was struggling."

Little went on to explain that the staff and his longtime caretaker Emily Dufort were immediately in his stall "to assist Smoke in righting himself." Despite their valiant efforts the struggle from being cast resulted in a severe injury.

Their veterinarian Dr. Richard Forfa arrived in haste, evaluated his condition and immediately Smoke was transported to The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center.

Little continued in her blog release as follows: “Based on examinations, imaging, system chemistry panels and consultations with other veterinarians, Dr. Martin Furr suggests that Smoke had sustained undefined traumatic injury to his central nervous system while he was cast, possibly due to damage to the cervical or lumbar spine sustained during the ordeal."

The rest of her release focused on how glad she was to have had the chance to ride such a brilliant horse and to thank those who were in her support team. Little and everyone who knew or cared for Smoke have a hurdle to overcome because not only did they have high opens for this horse but they had a fondness that is hard to fill.

Such a tragic loss but if there is one kind spot it is that they had a chance to be a part of this horse's too short life.

To find out more about how Smoke did at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event visit their web site at And the slide show of photos taken at his very last event is dedicated to this fine champion.