Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Adelinde Cornelissen, an equestrian riding for the Dutch Dressage Grand Prix team, had her hopes for a gold dashed by a tiny insect. When she went to tack him up and train early Tuesday morning, she noticed Parzival had a swollen head and had been kicking the walls. Parzival’s temperature was over 104. The veterinarians agreed that he had been bitten by an insect or spider.
The vets began administering fluids to help his kidneys flush out the poison, and by 3:30 pm his temperature had dropped to 101. X-rays and ultrasounds of his jaw showed nothing out of normal.
Cornelissen requested with the FÉDÉRATION ÉQUESTRE INTERNATIONALE (FEI) to swap starting places within her equestrian team so Parvzival could have an extra day to recover, but the FEI declined. With Parvzival’s competition starting in less than 24 hours, Conelissen had an incredibly difficult decision to make: compete, and possibly harm Parvzival, or drop out and ruin her chances for a gold and hurt her team?
Cornelissen spent the night at the stable with Parvzival, checking on him continuously, doing everything she could to help him recover faster. She posted her anguished decision on her Facebook wall.
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Between 7am and 8am we were allowed to ride in the arena.
I discussed with Jan Greve and Johan Rockx and decided we were going to walk and trot under saddle for 10 min and see how he was…
And so we did… We went to the arena, rode a few laps and he looked happy and fit. Coming back to the stables the temperature was still down…
Again difficult descisions… What to do? He is fit now, but you know what happened yesterday… Nobody to fill in my place if I would withdraw, letting the team down.
Questions questions… What is wise? I discussed with several vets and the team coach.. The FEI vets came and checked up on him around 10am. All gave green light to compete.. We decided I would give it a try. The fever was down, which means the toxics are out of his system. There is still a bit of swelling in the jaw, but we cooled it all the time and the swelling gets less…
I agreed to give it a try. Knowing the story, I took it easy in the warm up and didn’t want to ride full. He was ok, although he didn’t feel very powerful. Normal of course after a day like yesterday. I walked a lot to save the energy.. When I entered I already felt he was giving his utmost and being the fighter he is, he never gives up… But in order to protect him, I gave up…My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything for me his whole life does not deserve this…. So I saluted and left the arena….
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