Top Dutch dressage rider Adelinde Cornelissen has said she is to retire her star horse Parzival next year.

The rider withdrew her the 18-year-old gelding from the 2015 Dutch dressage championships earlier this month (17-19 July) as the horse had not shown “sufficient fitness” to compete.

As that event was the final selection competition for this summer’s FEI European Dressage Championships, the pair were therefore not named on the team list published by the Dutch equestrian federation last week.

It is the first time in six years that Adelinde has not represented her country. She had previously expressed her aim for Rio with Parzival.

However, team trainer Wim Ernes told Dutch magazine De Hoefslag last week that there would no longer be an opening on the team long term for the pair, due to their falling scores but credited and thanked the horse for the team’s success in the past.

Adelinde then told the magazine she was surprised by these comments, but that retirement for the horse in 2016 looked imminent.

The combination has been extremely strong across the years. In 2011 and 2012 the pair won the World Cup. They were then pipped to Olympic gold in London by Charlotte and Valegro.

Adelinde and Parzival currently sit in fourth place on the FEI world dressage rankings, behind Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, Adelinde’s countryman Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover and Germany’s Kristina Broring-Sprehe.

The pair have only been seen out once this season, an event in Rotterdam in June where they withdrew. Their last win was the in the grand prix at Mechelen in December.

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However, the horse has had a troublesome couple of seasons. The warmblood was off for several months with a cardiac arrhythmia — a heart-rate problem — and had an operation to correct it in June 2013.

He was then rested from competition with the aim of being selected for the World Equestrian Games in September, where they were part of the bronze medal-winning team.