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Individual medal hope ruled out of WEG due to horse injury

Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation will not contest the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, USA (11-23 September) as the horse is injured.

The news will be a serious blow to the New Zealand eventing team — Clarke and “Ritchie” would have been potential individual medallists at WEG as well as strong contributors to the team score.

The pair recently finished fifth in the CICO3* in Aachen and helped New Zealand win the team competition, but Clarke then announced Ritchie had picked up an injury, which has ruled them out of WEG.

“It is a huge, huge blow for me and also to my family, support team and friends, who are such an important part of our journey,” said Clarke. “I’m feeling very sad at the moment for my beautiful horse, but he will make a full recovery and we wish the New Zealand team all the best for bringing home some more gold.”

After strong results in their native New Zealand, Clarke and the grey Balmoral Sensation first came to international attention when they finished fifth at Badminton in 2016. This result secured them selection for the Rio Olympics, where they landed sixth place individually, the best New Zealand result.

Since then the pair have again campaigned in the southern hemisphere, winning five international events including Adelaide CCI4* last year. They returned to the northern hemisphere with seventh in the Event Rider Masters at Arville in June this year, followed by their strong performance at Aachen.

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The New Zealand team for WEG has not yet been announced, but is expected this week. New Zealand is likely to be among the front-running teams who will be fighting it out for medals in Tryon in September.

Full report from Aachen in the current issue of H&H (dated 26 July).

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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