Olympic gold medal-winning event rider Thibaut Vallette has been ruled out of the Tokyo Olympics owing to an injury to his horse Qing Du Briot Ifce.
The French pair will not travel to Tokyo for the Olympic eventing as the 17-year-old gelding had a “slight sensitivity” in one hoof as a result of a bone contusion he picked up at the Grand National event in Vittel last month.
The partnership were part of the French gold medal-winning team at the Rio Games in 2016. They were also on the bronze medal-winning team at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, and at the 2015 European Championships at Blair Castle, where they also took individual bronze.
Tokyo was Thibaut and “Qing’s” sixth championship selection. Today (9 July) Thibaut said for the team and out of respect for Qing, they “couldn’t take the risk” of going to the Games with a horse that is not at “100% of his ability”.
“It’s a big disappointment, ending on this Olympic deadline for our sixth selection would have been a great end to the career for this horse on the outstanding course. We will take care of him,” said Thibaut.
“I leave my place for a great teammate, Christo [Christopher Six] who deserves to go defend the colours of France.”
Reserve rider Christopher will be making his Olympic debut in Tokyo, with Totem de Brecey, owned by François Souweine and Juliane Souweine.
The other team members are:
- Tom Carlile and Birmane, owned by SCEA de Beliard
- Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold HDC, owned by SARL Haras des Coudrettes
Karim Florent Laghouag, who was also part of the Rio squad, will be the alternate rider with Triton Fontaine, owned by Philippe Lemoine, Guy Bessat, SARL Ecurie Karim Laghouag and Camille Laffite.
On 1 July, the day before the French team was confirmed, Thibaut’s Rio teammate and Rio individual silver medallist Astier Nicolas was ruled out of Tokyo contention after Babylon De Gammes suffered a “slight sprain”.
“This is a huge disappointment, but the priority will always be my horse’s health and we don’t want to take any chances for the rest of his career,” he said.
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.