There was FEI World Cup Final heartbreak for a New Zealand dressage rider whose horse was disqualified for having blood in his mouth.

After her performance in the grand prix in Omaha, USA, yesterday (30 March), stewards noticed Wendi Williamson’s ride Dejavu MH had bitten his lip and the pair were eliminated.

“We are very disappointed,” said Wendi. “We underestimated how hot he was going to get and he was beside himself. He bit his lip – I’m not sure when – and while the judges didn’t notice it, the stewards did. It was very minor, but rules are rules.”

The pair had been given a provisional score of 63.843% by judges.

“It was a very difficult test to ride and we are obviously very disappointed,” she said. “It is such a shame because he is in the best shape. His work here has been amazing but he just got so worked up over the last 24 hours as the noise and intensity levels in the centre increased.”

Equestrian Sports New Zealand is seeking clarification as to whether Wendi can compete in tomorrow’s (1 April) freestyle event, with an FEI vet’s confirmation that the horse is fit to take part.

Isabell and Carl

The grand prix was taken by Germany’s Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD, with a score of 82.3%.

“I’m completely happy, but I’ll have to calm my horse down before Saturday because she got so excited in the prizegiving!” said Isabell.

Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades were second on 79.8% and it was a strong start for Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck, who came third on 76.71%.

“Carl will be another strong challenger on Saturday when just 14 of today’s 16 starters will line out,” said a spokesman for the FEI.

Carl and Irish rider Judy Reynolds had made the draw for the grand prix starting order the day before the competition.

“How did it end up with me sixth to go and Isabell last!!” he joked.