Austria’s Victoria Max-Theurer Withdraws Abegglen from What Was to be Rider’s Fifth Olympics

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Victoria Max-Theurer on Abegglen. © 2021 CDI Achleiten

July 24, 2021

Austria’s Victoria Max-Theurer withdrew Abegglen NRW from the Olympic Grand Prix Saturday in what was to be the rider’s fifth Games. The withdrawal came after the horse inspection Friday and means Austria will no longer have a team of three as a replacement combination is not allowed after the vet check.

The decision by Vici, 35, to withdrew Abegglen was made after the 11-year-old Westfalen gelding displayed “behavior that was completely atypical for him.”

A veterinary examination of Abegglen, Vici reported, found “an acute root tip abscess in a molar tooth.”
“The wellbeing of my horse is always above everything else for me–that’s for sure and there’s nothing to shake about! But that also means today that on the day we have now worked towards almost five really moving years, on which we have concentrated everything, we are not allowed to ride into the Olympic square to show for our team and Austria. This hurts a lot, but the most important thing is and remains my horse’s health.”

She and Abegglen were Austria’s top combination. Her mother, Sissy Max-Thurer, won individual gold at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

Vici competed in her first Olympics in Athens in 2004 at the age of 19. She also rode for Austria in at the 2008 Beijing, 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games.

Her withdrawal comes after Patrik Kittel pulled out Well Done de la Roche, Sweden’s leading combination, that sustained a minor injury in training here. However, the incident occurred before the vet check so a replacement was allowed. Tanya Seymour of South Africa also withdrew Ramoneur after arriving in Tokyo

Dressage competition begins Saturday night Tokyo time to minimize the effects of hot and humid subtropical weather, similar to the Beijing equestrian competition that was staged in Hong Kong in 2008.

With Austria no longer in the lineup of teams, 14 nations will be competing over the next two days to become one of the top eight to earn a start in the Grand Prix Special on Tuesday that will decide team medals.

The Grand Prix will also be a qualifier for the Grand Prix Freestyle on Wednesday for individual medals.

The qualifying system is a first for Olympic dressage–the 58 remaining horse and riders have been divided into six groups.

The top two places in each group earn a start in the Freestyle and the remaining six places will be based on top scores of the other combinations.