Dutch dressage rider puts horse’s wellbeing above Olympic medal

Adelinde Cornelissen, a personal favourite of mine, is a dressage rider from the Netherlands who recently pulled her horse from the Olympics after he suffered a fever on the Olympic equestrian venue at the Deodoro Olympic Park.

Although he was immediately treated, and was already beginning to recover (they suspected his illness was due to an insect bite of some kind), Adelinde was torn whether to go ahead and try to compete (the Dutch team did not have a reserve rider to fill her spot).

She shared the following thoughts on her Facebook page:

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…..‪#‎twohearts‬


So proud of her and her decision. Let this be an example to all aspiring riders out there: being a great rider is not just about trophies or awards!