As far as ultimate disappointments for an international equestrian competitor to face, one thing tops defeat at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and that is having to withdraw their horse or being eliminated for an injury or illness.
After all of the years of hard work, dedication, and hopes and dreams, and not to mention the money invested, multiple horse-and-rider combinations were pulled in dressage, some before they even set foot in the arena in Normandy, France.
During the trot inspection on Sunday, August 24, Donpetro HL, ridden by Natalya Yurkevich of Kazakhstan was held, represented, and then eliminated. The German-born Hanoverian gelding was said to be unlevel during the trot-up. Also that morning, the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Carte d’Or, was not re-presented by rider Camila Kalseth of Norway, after a first failed jog.
And then on Tuesday afternoon, August 26, during the Grand Prix the ultimate disappointment rang out when the judges rang the bell for the horse-and-rider combination of Luiza Tavares de Almeida of Brazil and Pastor, her 18-year-old Lusitano stallion, right after they started their dressage test. The bell was rang due to lameness in the hindquarters. With a brave smile she left the arena to the sympathetic applause of the crowd.
The morning of August 27 opened with disappointment for Germany’s Isabell Werth as she discovered her 10-year-old Westphalian mare, Bella Rose, was lame. Luckily, her lameness appeared after Germany won the Team Gold medals in dressage, but Werth and Bella Rose could no longer continue to vie for individual medals. As the leading scorers for Team Germany, the pair scored an 81.529% in the Grand Prix test, right behind the leading combination of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro with their score of 85.271%
Bella Rosa has been withdrawn for a bruised sole. “This hits us out of the blue,” said Werth. “I am deeply disappointed. But obviously we don’t want to take any risks. The mare’s health has absolute priority. That’s why I have withdrawn her for the special.”
In addition to the pulls from dressage competition, there were several top dressage horses that were pulled before the event even began. Totilas, the Gold-medal winner of the grand prix, special, and the freestyle at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with Edward Gal of The Netherlands, was pulled due to a pain reaction at the site of a previous splint injury. Totilas was set to compete with Germany’s Matthias Alexander Rath, and many fans were anticipating a great performance from this record-breaking dressage horse.
The Netherlands’s dressage team also had two horses that were injured before getting to Normandy: Glock’s Undercover and Siro. Glock’s Undercover was Edward Gal’s first shot at another WEG medal, but he had to remain at home to recover from a painful problem in the cervical spine. Luckily, Gal was able to bring Glock’s Voice, a 2002 black KWPN stallion. The pair finished the team competition as part of the Bronze-medal winning team. Unfortunately for Siro’s rider, Danielle Heijkoop, it meant that she was replaced by Diederick van Silfhout, who brought Arlando NH NOP, a 2005 bay KWPN stallion. They ended up on the Bronze-medal team with their score of 73.414% in the Grand Prix, contributing the the Team Silver.