Update: Parzival Out of WEG But Will Receive Gold Medal
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Sept. 28–Jerich Parzival ridden by Adelinde Cornelissen was disqualified from the World Equestrian Games after the judges saw blood in the mouth of the 13-year-old gelding about a minute into their Grand Prix team medal round on Tuesday. Australia’s Hayley Beresford and Relåmpago do Retiro were disqualified two hours later when the horse was irregular during their ride.
Adelinde left the arena in tears after the blood was pointed out by the judges after the pair reined back in front of the judge at “C,” Stephen Clarke of Great Britain.
At that stage, the combination were sitting on a score of 80.50 per cent.
She said the warmup was fantastic and in the competition Parzival was “really, really good” up to the rein back when the judge rang the bell.
“I thought, ‘Oh, oh. I must have done something in the test…”
Adelinde and Parzival will receive a team gold medal with the Netherlands as she started the competition, but the pair will not be able to progress in the competition to the Grand Prix Special or Freestyle. There is, however, some consideration to a proposal for Adelinde and Parzival to perform the so-called “test” ride before the freestyle so that spectators can see the horse in the competition arena.
“We all feel really bad,” Dutch Chef d’Equipe Sjef Janssen said. “We have been training for years for this. It is a tragedy that this wonderful horse may not be able win two medals that we feel were within their reach. It is really painful for Adelinde.”
The turn of events stunned the crowd but the crowd applauded Adelinde and Parzival as they left the arena.
Adelinde gathered herself quickly and by the time the pair left the arena was collected.
Stewards rushed to inspect the horse and found that he had bitten himself on the underside of the tip of his tongue.
Adelinde later told dressage-news.com: “He was in such good shape, the best he’s ever been, so easy, so supple, so good… perfect.
“I’m actually OK because Parzival is OK. He is not injured, not like in Las Vegas.”
At a news conference later, Dr. Wotjek Markowski, the technical delegate, said the rules are specific that any sign of blood in the mouth or foam must lead to elimination and under current procedure there is no appeal.
Dutch team veterinarian Jan Greve said he thought the rule was fair. He showed photographs of a small nick on Parzival’s tongue. Consideration could be given to amending the rule to allow for an inspection and if the injury is so minor that it clearly does not affect the welfare of the horse the rider could be permitted to show later in the event.
If she had the chance to do that, Adelinde said, “I would grab it with both hands.”
“The judges had no choice,” Dutch Chef d’Equipe Sjef Janssen said. The team was “very depressed, very disappointed to say the least,” after the incident but they organized exercises for the horses to get everyone focused on their jobs.
When told that the pair were sitting on a score above 80 per cent at the time, he said: “And the strongest parts were still to come.”
This is the second time that Parzival and Adelinde have made a trip to America and both have been ill fated.
In 2009, they flew to Las Vegas for the World Cup Final after leading the West European League but Parzival was injured before the start of the competition and was withdrawn.
“America does not bring us a whole lot of luck,” she said.
Adelinde had followed a very careful and organized program of preparation for this WEG. Adelinde told this correspondent they were peaking in Kentucky and, as the only combination ever to beat their team mates, Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas–twice–she was determined to produce their top performance.
In training at the Kentucky Horse Park, the pair have looked superb.
An Australian spectator was in tears after Parzival left the arena.
“So many of us traveled so far specially to see the two best horses in the world. It must be heart breaking for Adelinde, all of the Dutch and horse lovers everywhere.”
It is hard to determine the impact on the Dutch team of the withdrawal of Parzival with Totilas still to go after the first day when Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise were at the top of the leaderboard with their other team member, Hans Peter Minderhoud and Exquis Nadine, in third place individually.