Austria’s Victoria Max-Theurer has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics ahead of today’s opening grand prix as her ride Abegglen NRW has suffered a tooth problem.
Victoria explained that “Abby” had underperformed in training yesterday, which she could not explain until he was checked by the team vet and official vet clinic. They discovered the horse had an abscess in a molar late yesterday evening.
“The wellbeing of my horse takes precedence over everything for me and nothing can shake that,” said Victoria. “But this also means today, on the day we have worked towards for almost five eventful years, on which we have concentrated everything, we are not allowed to ride into the Olympic arena to show what we can do for our team and Austria. This hurts a lot, but the most important thing is and remains my horse’s health.”
Victoria said she will now do everything possible to support the other Austrian riders. She thanked her family, friends and team – “we would have loved to give you some of that back today” – and said her attention will now be on working with her team to make sure Abby recovers as soon as possible.
Victoria, 35, would have been riding at her fifth Olympic Games. The 11-year-old Ampere son Abegglen NRW – who belongs to her mother, 1980 Olympic dressage champion Elisabeth “Sissy” Max-Theurer, Gestüt Vorwerk and Stefan Lehfellner – is a relatively new ride for her. The horse was previously ridden by Germany’s Marcus Hermes and she first rode him internationally in July 2020. But the pair were on an upward curve, having scored 83.01% in their freestyle debut together last month.
Only three Austrian horses were presented at yesterday’s Tokyo Olympics dressage trot-up so this news means the Austrian team challenge has collapsed. Florian Bacher (Fidertraum) and Christian Schumach (Te Quiero SF) will now compete as individuals. Both will ride their grands prix tomorrow.
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