One of the combinations named in the British squad for the European Para Dressage Championships (21-27 August) has been pulled out at the final vet assessment.
Natasha Adkinson’s ride Sweet Caledonia was “not declared fully fit” at the routine check on Monday (14 August).
British Dressage selectors decided the combination would be replaced by Erin Orford on Dior, rather than Izzy Palmer on Touchdown M or Susanna Wade on D’Artagnan, who had been named as non-travelling reserves.
Para-dressage performance manager Sarah Armstrong said she was “very disappointed for Natasha and her team”.
“While we don’t believe that this will in any way impact the combination’s performances for Great Britain in the future, the decision was made in the best interests of the horse,” she added.
“We welcome Erin to the team, for what will be her championship debut. The team behind the team and I are looking forward to supporting our athletes in Gothenburg, knowing their preparation has been solid and that they will be targeting personal best performances.”
Erin and Dior will be competing in Gothenburg with H&H blogger Suzanna Hext (Abira), Julie Payne (Athene Lindebjerg) and Sophie Wells (C Fatal Attraction).
“I’m absolutely gutted, but Cally is my main priority and my focus is now on getting her sorted so that we can concentrate on next year’s World Championships,” said Natasha. “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me.
A British Equestrian Federation spokesman said: “At the point of nominated entries the selectors decided to expand the combinations named in the squad (on 14 July), and added Erin and Dior to the nominated entries list.
“We are very fortunate to have a pool of very strong athletes across the grades in Great Britain. The selectors felt that given the strength and experience of the team, we would be best placed to have a Grade III athlete join the squad.
“Izzy Palmer (Touchdown M) and Susanna Wade (D’Artagnan) are both still non-travelling reserves.”
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Erin thanked her team and sponsors, adding that her selection “hadn’t really sunk in yet”.
“It’s a horrible situation for Natasha and I really feel for her,” she added. “Dior has felt on good form so hopefully we can go out there and show our best.”
For a full preview to the European Championships, see this week’s H&H magazine, out 17 August.