Dressage Rider Quits In Middle Of Olympic Event To Protect Her Sick Horse
August 11 / Tanya Ray Fox / SportsGrid
Get ready to tear up, you stone cold sports fans. We have all heard the horror stories of the ways in which horses have been treated in sports, but this is most definitely not that. This is the story of an athlete and her "buddy." And if you love animals as much as I do, you're probably going to cry.
On Wednesday, Dutch dressage rider Adelinde Cornelissen bowed out of the Olympics mid-event to protect her horse. Cornelissen and the veterinarians treated Parzival, her 19-year-old Jazz gelding, after he was bitten by an insect on Tuesday and fell ill. According to the Horse & Hound, she described Parzival as have a completely swollen cheek and a "toxic fever."
Cornelissen goes on to explain that they put him on liquids for nine hours and got his temperature down, and that it stayed down through the next morning. She talked it over the with the vet and decided that he was healthy enough to compete in the team grand prix. She took him out for warm ups in the arena, and although he was being a trooper and he seemed to be improving, she could tell that something wasn't quite right.
But she was also faced with letting her team down, and the doctors had given Parzival the green light. So she continued to give it her best and to handle her horse with care.
"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..."
But in the end, when it was finally time to begin the event, she knew in her heart what she had to do.
"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..."
ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? Crying. Crying all the tears.
Here is her full Facebook post and her explanation of what happened:
"My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything for me his whole life..."
Now that's a quote. It sounds like it's straight out a Disney film. This woman is my new favorite. It may sound like a no-brainer to some, but there are a lot of people who don't treat their horses this way. There are a lot of riders who would've competed in that situation.
And maybe Parzival would've been okay. But Cornelissen wasn't willing to take that chance with the horse she loves so much, not even for an Olympic medal. She knew that he would've pushed himself no matter how badly he felt, and she wasn't willing to ask that of him.
That's an incredible thing, and it's an Olympic moment for the ages. Adelinde and Parzival FOREVER.
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