German event rider Michael Jung has confirmed his plans for double Olympic champion La Biosthetique-Sam FBW’s future, following his withdrawal from Pau last month and rumours about his retirement.

Michael told H&H today (8 November) he decided after Sam won team silver and individual gold at the Rio Olympics last year that he would not contest any more championships, but would just “have fun with him at the rest of the competitions”.

“He didn’t feel so good at Pau and that’s why he doesn’t do championships any more, so he doesn’t have the pressure,” he said. “We can do it [the competition] or not or retire him [on course] or go slow. If Burghley [where he was retired after a run-out] had been a championship we would have had to fight [to the end of the course].”

Michael said Sam, who is now 17, will continue competing next year and is aimed at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (2-6 May 2018).

“He really likes competing, so he can do a few more competitions. At the moment he feels very good. We have a long winter here so we will see how he is come next spring, but he looks very healthy and Badminton is the plan, depending on how he is.”

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The rider added that Sam seems fully recovered from the problem which prevented him competing at Pau.

“We don’t know what the problem was, but he has not had any more warmth [in the leg] or been lame. I’ve been working him as normal and he’s been checked by the vet, who says his X-rays are like a three-year-old’s.”

Sam (Stan The Man x Heraldik) has an unsurpassed championship record. He has won two Olympic individual golds (2012 and 2016), a world individual gold (2010), a European individual gold (2011), a European individual bronze (2009), an Olympic team gold (2012), an Olympic team silver (2016) and a European team gold (2011). He has won Badminton (2016) and finished second there twice (2013 and 2017), as well as winning Burghley (2015).

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