Rafalca Withdrawn from Schindlhof CDI4* With Fitness Issue
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
FRITZENS, Austria, July 5, 2014–Rafalca, America’s Olympic celebrity mare ridden by Jan Ebeling, has been withdrawn from the Schindlhof CDI4* Grand Prix that is the first of two trials to select members of the United States World Equestrian Games team.
The horse that had been stabled at the estate of Sissy Max-Theurer just a few hours from this Alpine mountain event to lessen the strain of travel was sent back to the American base in Belgium.
Robert Dover, the U.S. team chef d’equipe, confirmed withdrawal of the 17-year-old Hanoverian mare, the oldest of the eight horses qualified for being on the short list to go to Europe to determine selection of the team.
He said he hoped she would be fit enough to compete at Aachen, Germany in two weeks, the second of the American selection trials.
Some questions have been raised over the rules governing the selection trials and whether Rafalca can be excused from this event at Fritzens.
Jan of Moorpark, California had voiced his worries of the impact of the intense travel schedule after the U.S. championships at Gladstone, New Jersey where the pair placed third. The horses then flew to Europe and were based in Belgium. Instead of putting Rafalca through the 14-hour road trip from Belgium to Fritzens just days before the competition, he opted to go to the Max-Theurer estate early to give the horse a chance to settle in.
It had been understood that the placing of Jan and Rafalca at Gladstone did not excuse the pair from this event and the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany in two weeks before the final team is selected.
Steffen Peters of San Diego, California and Legolas as the United States champion and Laura Graves of Geneva, Florida and Verdades as runnerup were automatically qualified to the team and excused from this event but chose to compete.