Elisa Wallace admitted she let down her horse, her country and her sport in failing to pull up during Saturday’s cross-country phase at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
The US eventer’s ride Simply Priceless appeared to be tiring from fences 27 and 28, the FEI Classics hedges, but was noticeably labouring as the pair made their way into the main arena for the finish.
Despite a smack on the shoulder just before take-off, the 16-year-old gelding caught a front leg as he jumped the last, pecking on landing and throwing Elisa over his head before the finish line. He stood where he had come to a halt, while others attended to him and Elisa got up and walked away, appearing disappointed.
“This is something we don’t see too much these days, thank goodness,” said commentator Mike Tucker as the combination approached the last. “It’s not a sight that’s enjoyed, but Elisa is doing her very best to nurse this horse home.”
Elisa was given an FEI yellow card under the abuse of the horse banner. Anyone given two such cards at any FEI event within a year is automatically suspended for two months.
On Saturday evening, Elisa posted an update on her Facebook page.
“Johnny is very happy munching his hay. I am okay as well, but I’m disappointed in myself for letting down my horse, my country, and my sport. I should have pulled him up. And I agree with the ground jury giving me a yellow card.
“I made a mistake that I will NEVER make again. I am lucky we are both unscathed. Johnny gave me everything today. I love my horse and my sport.”
Yesterday (7 May), she posted a picture of “Johnny”, saying he had “jogged well” that morning and was “happy eating grass”.
Check out what riders wore at the first
Find out how the final day of competition
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The combination finished 14th at Burghley last year and 17th at Kentucky in 2015.
Don’t miss this week’s H&H (out Thursday 11 May), which will have a comprehensive 25-page Badminton report, bringing you all the news, analysis and statistics.