The reigning silver medalist in the Olympic dressage competition withdrew from the Rio Games after her horse, Parzival, became ill.
Dutch equestrian Adelinde Cornelissen ended her trip to the Olympics after Parzival suffered an apparent spider or insect bite. Cornelissen detailed the reasoning behind the decision in a Facebook post.
“After double checking with the vets here they concluded he was bitten by an insect or spider or some sort of animal which produces toxics,” she wrote Aug. 10 explaining her decision to withdraw.
The 19-year-old horse had a fever Tuesday morning and the right side of his head was swollen when Cornelissen went to begin training for the day. After getting some tests done and giving the horse fluids to reduce his temperature, Parzival appeared to be in better health and was cleared for competition.
Cornelissen said she contacted the International Equestrian Federation to request a schedule change that would allow her and Parzival another day to prepare, but her request was denied.
She made a difficult decision just a few moves into her routine Thursday: Cornelissen quit in order to protect her horse.
As she wrote on Facebook:
“When I entered I already felt he was giving his utmost and being the fighter he is, he never gives up…. But in order to protect him, I gave up…My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything for me his whole life does not deserve this…. So I saluted and left the arena…..#twohearts“
In addition to the individual silver medal, Cornelissen was also a member of the Dutch team that took home bronze at the 2012 London Olympics.
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