The British team for the European Dressage Championships in Gothenburg is down to three members after Gareth Hughes’ ride Don Carissimo had to withdraw from the competition.

The British team was asked to re-present “Darcy”, owned by Anne and Steve Keen, this morning (21 August), following the dressage horse inspection yesterday. After veterinary investigation overnight, it was confirmed that Darcy had sustained an injury and would be withdrawn from the championship.

“It is bitterly disappointing for me, the owners, the team and everyone else, but the horse’s welfare has to come first,” said Gareth. “He travelled fine, and felt really good in light work when we arrived. We trotted him up and I worked him in the main arena on Saturday and he felt great, really taking it all in his stride.

“But in the inspection he was really lame behind. I couldn’t tell while trotting him up as it is a hind leg injury, but when I turned at the top I could see everyone talking.”

“We had him X-rayed and worked on him overnight and he was better this morning but still not right,” added Gareth, “It’s either a soft tissue or muscular injury – we don’t know yet. But he is happy and well within himself.

“It‘s a really awful feeling, but I wish the team the best of luck.”

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As no British reserve combination has travelled to Sweden, the team will now compete with just three riders, meaning every score will count. Carl Hester spearheads the team, riding his own and Jane de la Mare’s Nip Tuck. He will be joined by Spencer Wilton with his own and Jen Goodman’s Supernova II and Emile Faurie on Elena Knyagincheva’s Lollipop 126, who was called up last week in place of Emile’s first-choice ride, Hof Kasselmann’s Weekend Fun.

The grand prix gets under way tomorrow (Tuesday, 22 August).

Buy the current issue of H&H (dated 17 August) for our full European Championships preview in dressage, para dressage and showjumping, including full analysis of the British chances and the opposition, plus timetable and how to follow.