After Dutch dressage rider, Adelinde Cornelissen’s, horse, Parzival, was being bitten in the face by a poisonous bug just days before their scheduled Olympic routine, her concern was solely on the health of her horse.
After being bitten, Cornelissen spent 24/7 with her horse, even sleeping in his stable with him. While Parzival was recovering, Cornelissen contacted FEI, the equestrian governing body, to ask if she could change places and compete later in the competition, but, unfortunately, the request was denied.
Over the next few days, Parzival appeared to be recovering well. He was given a clean bill of health and the go-ahead to compete in their dressage competition as scheduled.
When Cornelissen and Parzival entered the Olympic ring, however, she quickly realized that her horse was not at his best. Instead of risking potential injury to Parzival, Cornelissen made the decision to stop her routine part-way through.
It was a tough decision and Cornelissen knew that she would be letting her team, as well as her country, down but she had to put Parzival’s welfare first.
“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,” she said in a Facebook post.
We know this is probably not what Cornelissen and the Dutch team were hoping for, but we admire them for putting the health of their horse first.