By Molly Daly

COCHRANVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — A horse who survived a Chester County barn fire last year that killed six of his stablemates has been named the United States Equestrian Federation‘s International Horse of the Year , and could be headed to the Olympics.

Neville Bardos is a chestnut gelding who competes in eventing, a kind of triathlon for horses.  He was stabled in West Grove, Pa. when the stable caught fire (see related story).  Trainer Boyd Martin says it’s astonishing that Neville even made it out alive.

“He was stuck in the fire for about 45 minutes and we were very, very lucky to pluck him out,” Martin tells KYW Newsradio.  “And initially the signs weren’t very good for the horse — he had smoke inhalation and burns to his throat, and his lungs were damaged.”

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But thanks to intensive veterinary care and therapy, Neville survived — and thrived.

“He went on to compete against some of the best horses in the world in England, and was the best-performing American horse over there,” Martin says.  And he could be headed to the Olympics:

“If all goes well, I like to think he’d be in contention for the team.”

Not bad for an $850, washed out racehorse.

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