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. However, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) declined her request.
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.