Otto to be Retired, Not to be USA Team Reserve in London

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Todd Flettrich and Otto at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

GLADSTONE, New Jersey, June 17–Otto, ridden by Todd Flettrich on the U.S. team at the World Equestrian Games to qualify America for the Olympics, is being retired and will not go to the London Games as the first reserve.

The pair is the reserve for the team of three horses and riders and one individual but Todd told dressage-news.com that owner Cherry Knoll Farm decided the welfare of the horse was paramount and did not want to put Otto through the stress of two transAtlantic flights and not compete. At least five horses will be sent with the U.S. dressage team as Steffen Peters will take with him Ravel and Legolas, on whom he won this year’s U.S. Grand Prix Championship in which the selection trials were embedded.

Otto is a 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding that Todd has been riding for 3 1/2 years, including on the team that came fourth at the 2010 World Equestrian Games to qualify the U.S. for this year’s Olympics.

Todd, 42, of Wellington, Florida, and Otto came fifth in the U.S. selection trials that ended Saturday after two weekends of competitions.

“Otto was the horse of my life,” Todd said. “I wish we could have retired him after being on the U.S. team for the Olympics but it was not to be.”

Otto was originally trained to Grand Prix by Heather Blitz and she competed the horse in Europe before selling him to Margaret Duprey’s Cherry Knoll Farm at the end of 2008.

Todd and Otto have been among the most consistent of America’s high performance combinations. They finished the four competitions–two Grand Prix and two Olympic Grand Prix Specials–in the U.S. selection trials with an average of 71.870 per cent.