She was the only one who could have made the Germans dangerous. But traces of blood on the spur and a tear on the flank of her horse freestyle spoiled Charlotte Dujardin's chances of at least partially stopping the march of the German dressage riders at the European Championships in Rotterdam. For the three-time Olympic champion, the European Championship was over after the first test, the Grand Prix.
At first it looked good for Dujardin and her mare. Second place behind Isabell Werth on Bella Rose, ahead of the other three Germans. That's as good as a win elsewhere. But the television cameras waited in vain for an interview with the rider. Suddenly Dujardin's name disappeared from the scoreboard, the British were no longer on the silver in the team standings, but were only fourth, riders and team leadership as swallowed from the ground. The Germans won their 24th European Gold medal and finished first (Isabell Werth on Bella Rose), two (Dorothee Schneider on Showtime), three (Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo) and nine (Jessica von Bredow-Werndl on Dalera).
Only half an hour later it became known why Dujardin was deleted from the rating. The spur had injured the mare, a significant approximately three inches long wound was visible on the left flank. Traces of blood also appeared on the spurs themselves. Open wounds on the horse's mouth or on the side of the horse where the rider acts are, according to the rules of the World Equestrian Federation, immediate exclusion. All horses are routinely checked by a steward after the ride. With a white glove he strokes the coat, controls the rider's spurs for traces of blood and takes pictures. The German technical delegate Gotthilf Riexinger, who attended the control even on the warm-up area, shows a cell phone photo: "That's clear."
It does not matter how much the horse is bleeding
Dujardin is not the first, but the most prominent, with the "blood rule" applied. In Kentucky at the World Equestrian Games 2010, the Dutch co-favorite Adelinde Cornelissen was eliminated because her horse Parsival bleeding from the mouth. In Rotterdam, the Frenchwoman Charlotte Chalvignac was already eliminated by Dujardin because of a wound on the side of her horse, two more horses were taken out of the competition for lameness. Public pressure has made the World Equestrian Federation (FEI) aware of the need to make no compromises when it comes to the welfare of the horse. Exclusions under Article 4220.127.116.11 of the dressage regulations are not intentional, they merely serve to ensure the well-being of all horses in competition, the association announced in Rotterdam.
If it were a normal tournament, Dujardin could even start in the next exams after another veterinary examination. At the championship, however, the Grand Prix ended in the classification is the prerequisite for a performance in the individual classification. It does not matter how much the horse is bleeding. "We can not begin to measure cutting depths," says Stephan Ellenbruch, an international judging judge.
The British team leadership decided after consultation with the veterinarian on a protest. Charlotte Dujardin commented on social media. She apologized to the fans and said in dismay, "I'm devastated," she writes, never had her similar experience happen: "My horse's health and wellbeing are always top priority, but of course I accept the decision." Dujardin is the greatest hope of the British for the Olympic dressage in Tokyo in 2020. After the retirement of her gold medal horse Valegro it had become quieter around her, with freestyle she has again a horse, with whom she can intervene in the action.
Equestrian she is with multi-champion Isabell Werth at eye level. Some things already make Freestyle better than Werth's starring horse, Bella Rose, for example, the strong trot when she flies across the square like seven-league boots. But in the piaffe, a key lesson, she does not reach the chestnut mare yet. Even the pirouettes in gallop are still tedious, and possibly is in Dujardins effort to turn their horse "on the plate", the fatal injury happened. Wondering why an experienced pro like she ever uses spurs with cogs. There are long rounded, dull versions where such injuries are not ruled out, but much less likely. Maybe a new rule must first be imposed, the wheels on the spur prohibited.
. (dayToTranslate) Dressage (t) Equitation (t) Sport (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung