For so many world-class athletes participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the only goals are glory and gold medals. However, for Dutch dressage rider Adelinde Cornelissen, her close bond with equine partner, Parzival, proves to be top priority.
CNN reports that Cornelissen's horse, Parzival, a 19-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding, presumably fell victim to an insect bite that caused a fever and swelling of the head.
Cornelissen recounted the ordeal with an Aug. 10 Facebook post, describing how she asked if the Dutch team could compete on a different day, allowing Parzival to recover. She writes:
Lots has happened...
Lots has happened...
The first days in Rio went according to plan: a relaxed flight, stabling good, training good. Parzival feels happy and fit.
Until yesterday morning... I planned to train early on Tuesday morning, so I was at the stable at 6am. Saying good morning to Parzival, I saw the right side of his head was swollen, he had been kicking the walls. I took his temperature:he had a fever of over 40 degrees Celcius, but he still didn't look sick. He was eating and drinking and while walking I had a hard time keeping up with him, as always...
Jan Greve came right away and after double checking with the vets here they concluded he was bitten by an insect or spider or some sort of animal which produces toxics.
To get the toxics out of his system we gave him fluids. From 6.30 to 15.45hrs we kept him on this. It helps the kidneys to clean up the toxics out of the body. The vets at the clinic took swaps from the nose and checked the blood. The temperature dropped gradually and by 15.30 it was 38.4... We then took x-rays from the jaw and echoed the area. Just making sure..All ok.
At the end of the day the fever was down and I handwalked Parzival a bit. He looked a lot better and the swelling of his head was at least 1/3 the size of this morning...
Then difficult decisions came... We requested the FEI if we could swap starting places within the team, so Parzi could get a day to recover. Competing on Thursday instead of Wednesday.
However, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) declined her request. She writes, "At that point I didn't want to compete anymore... Parzival's health is more important than anything else in this world!"
Despite the fact that the FEI vets approved Parzival as healthy enough to compete after close monitoring and a regimen of fluids to flush out any insect bite toxins, Cornelissen still felt that something wasn't quite right.
She wrote on Facebook, "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."
Cornelissen is a world champion dressage equestrian. She won bronze and silver medals, respectively, for team and individual dressage during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.