With just two weeks to go until the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games, several key dressage riders have announced their withdrawal from the competition.

Danish medal fortunes took a blow when Denmark’s star player and major medal hope Cathrine Dufour announced she was unable to compete as her European individual bronze medallist Atterupgaards Cassidy was unsound. She was replaced by Anna Zibrandtsen and Arlando, members of the silver-medal winning Danish team at the 2017 Europeans, but less than a week later Anna revealed that she too has been forced to pull out.

“My fantastic pal Arlando is so unlucky. I’m so sad to say that Arnie has unfortunately got lymphangitis (an infection in the lymph system of the leg) close to departure for WEG in Tryon,” said Anna. “That means we can’t work him until he’s 100% recovered; therefore we wouldn’t be able to participate at WEG.

“We were really looking forward to being part of the Danish team again this year. But Arnie always has first priority, and we will not push him. We wish everyone at WEG the best of luck and lots of fun.”

The 12-year-old by Paddox has been ridden by Anna since the beginning of 2017. Previously he was competed internationally by the Netherlands’ Diederik van Silfhout, helping the Dutch team to European gold in Aachen in 2015 and finishing 11th individually in the freestyle at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Anna and Arlando will be replaced on the Danish WEG team by the second reserve, Rikke Svane and Finckstein, who will join Daniel Bachmann Andersen (Blue Hors Zack), Anders Dahl (Selten HW) and Betina Jaeger (Belstaff) on the team.

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Belgium has also suffered a blow as their highest ranked combination, Jorinde Verwimp and Tiamo, have announced their withdrawal from WEG.

The 18-year-old Lester gelding, who is in his last year of competition, failed the vet check at Aachen in July and is still not back to full fitness.

“I competed him yesterday at a national show and felt that he was still not like he used to be. I don’t want to push him to do anything he is not ready to do. The time is to short to bring him back to his top level,” said Jorinde.

Reserve pair Isabel Cool and Aranco V will step in, alongside Jeroen Devroe with Eres DL, Fanny Verliefden with Indoctro Van De Steenblok and Laurence Roos on Fil Rouge

Portugal’s Daniel Pinto and Santurion De Massa will also not compete at WEG. The 12-year-old was eliminated at Aachen as he was unsound and is not back up to full strength in time to compete in Tryon. Manuel Veiga and Ben Hur Da Broa will step in after Portugal’s first reserve, Rodrigo Torres with the eight-year-old Fogoso, chose not to make the journey to North Carolina at such short notice.

The remaining members of the Portuguese team are Miguel Ralão Duarte with Xenofonte d’Atela, Maria Caetano on Coroado and Vasco Mira Godinho with Bariloche JGR.

Don’t miss this Thursday’s issue of H&H (30 August) for our WEG preview features and predictions