Former World Cup winner Flexible has suffered a bout of colic in the build-up to this year’s Longines FEI World Cup jumping final in Las Vegas.
“For the first time in his life he colicked yesterday [Tuesday, 14 April] and was very sick,” said US rider Rich Fellers, who took the final in 2012 on the chestnut, who is now 19 years old.
“We could hardly get him to walk, he was just crumpling and trying to lie down. He had his first rectal examination — Dr Tim Ober, our team vet, did some magic there with his arm and moved things around, then we put him on a lunge line and got him jogging around. Little by little he got better and he was great this morning, he feels perfect.
“Because I know him so well, every time he has a problem I just think he’s going to overcome it because he always does. I was bit panicked when I saw him so sick. I know him well, obviously, and I could see he was in a lot of pain and was really uncomfortable.”
Rich explained that Flexible hasn’t been jumping clear rounds in his last few competitions before the final.
“You wouldn’t say he’s on his best form, but I just know that horse and I really believe he’s going to make adjustments as he doesn’t like having rails.”
Flexible starts as number 34 in the opening speed leg, which starts at 7pm tonight Las Vegas time (3am British time).
The draws for the jumping final and the Reem Acra dressage final took place yesterday at the Hakkasan nightclub in the MGM Grand Hotel. The nightclub usually has a lower age limit of 21, but an exception was made for the two 19-year-old showjumpers, Jos Verlooy and Bertram Allen.
Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro are the 12th pair to go in the grand prix, which starts at noon today (8pm British time).
More updates from Las Vegas on www.horseandhound.co.uk all week — full reports in magazine out next Thursday (23 April).