Olympic silver medallist Spencer Wilton has withdrawn from this week’s inaugural Wellington CDI3*.
Spencer was due to compete his Rio Olympic ride Super Nova II in their first international appearance since March 2020, but has pulled out owing to an ongoing back injury.
“My injury has been rumbling along; I recently had three injections in my back, which now feels amazing, but I am still getting horrific cramps in my left leg from nerve impingement,” Spencer told H&H. “I am going to have another procedure to help with that, and hoped to be able to wait until after Wellington to have it done, but it wasn’t to be.
“It’s not like I can put my hand up halfway through my grand prix and ask the judge if I can just get off and stretch out my hamstring before continuing with my zig-zag,” he joked.
“The support from World Class has been amazing, especially doctor Pippa Bennett and physio Ashleigh Wallace, who have gone above and beyond for me during the past four years.”
Spencer and the 18-year-old De Niro x Weltmeyer gelding made their competitive comeback at Burrows Court Farm last weekend, where they scored a personal best of 79.6% in the grand prix. Spencer now aims to compete “Neville” at Compiègne, France, at the end of May, and Le Mans, France, in June.
“Everything was going so well, and Neville is feeling really good,” said Spencer. “But if [the Tokyo Olympics] doesn’t work out for us, we will just refocus and look toward the European dressage championships.”
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Neville and Spencer have been stalwarts of the British team in recent years, having competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016, the European Championships in 2017 and the World Equestrian Games in 2018. Spencer gave the gelding a year away from top competition in 2019, and made a hugely successful start to his Tokyo Olympic campaign in early 2020 – set to be Neville’s final year of top sport. Following the postponement of the Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, Spencer put Neville “on ice” and gave him a quiet summer, with plans to bring him out to campaign for team selection in 2021.
The Wellington CDI gets under way in Hampshire today (11 May), with the grand prix tomorrow, and the grand prix special and freestyle on Thursday (13 May). Several of Britain’s top combinations will be in action, including Charlotte Dujardin with both Mount St John Freestyle and Gio, Carl Hester with En Vogue, Emile Faurie riding Dono Di Maggio and Sonnar Murray-Brown on Erlentanz.
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