Briana Burgess Pulls Out of Australia’s World Games Team, Maree Tomkinson Back In

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Briana Burgess and La Scala competing at Fritzens, Austria. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Briana Burgess and La Scala competing at Fritzens, Austria. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

SYDNEY, Aug. 14, 2014–Briana Burgess has withdrawn from Australia’s World Equestrian Games dressage team, the national federation reported Thursday, citing an injury to her horse, La Scala, that would prevent peak performance in Normandy, France.

Maree Tomkinson on Diamantina, who had initially been named to the team, has been restored to the roster to join Mary Hanna on Sancette, Lyndal Oatley on Sandro Boy and Kristy Oatley on Ronan.

The status of the 26-year-old rider and La Scala has been an on-again, off-again drama.

She and the horse were ranked third after the first of two selection trials in Europe. However, a tendon injury to La Scala prevented the horse from competing in the second trial.

Selectors excused the pair and kept her ranking from the first trial, following a procedure that excused Hayley Beresford on Jaybee Alabaster that was unfit from the first event. Then, the selectors left Briana off the team based on what they said was veterinary advice La Scala would not recover in time for the start of WEG dressage on Aug. 25.

Briana, based in Germany, appealed the decision to leave her off the team and she was upheld by an appeals panel on condition the horse complete a veterinary inspection that was held this week.

The result of that veterinary inspection was not disclosed by Equestrian Australia.

“With limited preparation time before WEG,” the federaion said in a statement, “Burgess has formed the view that La Scala’s preparation for the Games has been affected to the point where the horse would not be able to compete at his peak performance level in time.

“The 26 year old is disappointed to be bowing out of what would have been her first World Equestrian Games, but is optimistic for the future and will now focus on her training with La Scala in a bid to further improve the strong scores posted by the pair in recent times.”

“I’d like to thank Equestrian Australia, team vets, the appeals board, my family, trainer Patrik Kittel and dressage supporters,” she was quoted by the federation. “I look forward to supporting Australia’s dressage team when competition gets underway.”