Tuesday 20 August - 16h58 | Lulu Kyriacou
Charlotte Dujardin Sensationally Eliminated At European Championships.
Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle were sensationally eliminated from the FEI European Dressage Championships currently ongoing in Rotterdam after a small blood stained mark was found on the horse at the post test inspection. This is an automatic elimination on welfare grounds with no suggestion of abuse or any sort of wrong doing by the rider.
To add insult to injury, the British team were in contention for the silver medal at the time and but having to drop Dujardins score meant the team was forced to settle for fourth place behind the runaway German winners, plus the Netherlands and Sweden who claimed the minor medals with fractions of penalties separating them.
The British are already qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year after their performance in the World Equestrian Games last year so this is not quite the disaster in might appear. Dujardin is the latest in a long line of riders to fall foul of the blood rule which has been in existence for some time now but perhaps this latest elimination will remind riders that clipping the coat short in the summer months is not really required in most temperate European climates and leaving the coat on can prevent thise tiny marks, most caused by friction on sweaty skin from the rider's boot or spur.
Statement on the elimination of Charlotte Dujardin at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2019
Following their test, a routine post-test inspection by the FEI stewards revealed a small trace of blood on the flank of Mount St John Freestyle, the ride of Charlotte Dujardin. As is the FEI rules, any blood found during this inspection results in elimination.
Having consulted with our dressage team veterinarian, Andre Buthe, who also inspected the horse, we feel this decision is fair in respect that the welfare of our horses and riders is absolutely paramount. We will not be appealing their decision.
In the short journey from the inspection area to the stable, the rub site remained dry and clean.
Vikki Underwood, Chef de Mission for Great Britain, commented: “This is extremely difficult because in Britain we pride ourselves on our animal welfare. Charlotte is one of our most respected and talented athletes, who dearly loves her horses, but she would not hesitate to accept this decision. It takes a great deal of teamwork to get the horses and riders to a championship, and all the connections will be devastated, but the horse is fit and well and will contest many more championships. This obviously means the end of the European Championships for Charlotte and Freestyle, but she’ll be with us cheering on the remaining three combinations.”
Charlotte Dujardin commented: “I’m obviously absolutely devastated – nothing like this has ever happened to me before. The health and welfare of my horses is always my number one priority, but of course I accept the decision.”
Emma and Jill Blundell, owners of Mount St John Freestyle, commented: “We fully support Charlotte. Today’s was a great performance, but we accept the decision. We know how seriously Charlotte takes the welfare of our horse and we’re proud to have her ride for us.”
Carl Hester and Hawtins Delicato were the best of the rest of the British, finishing sixth and he wil be joined in the Freestyle by Gareth Hughes and Classic Briloinca who finished tenth today, only 2% behind Hester.
Monday 19 August - 20h35