Double Tokyo Paralympic medal winner withdrawn ahead of freestyle: ‘her health and well-being is above all else’

  • Tokyo Paralympic individual bronze and team silver dressage medal-winners Rixt van der Horst and Findsley have withdrawn ahead of tonight’s freestyle finale (30 August).

    The Dutch combination are the reigning grade III freestyle champions, having won triple gold at the 2018 World Equestrian Games. They were among the favourites to take home the title from Tokyo and scored a huge new personal best in the run-up to the Games, with +80% performance in Doha in February.

    The pair already scooped individual bronze on Friday (28 August), with a score of 75.77%, and helped the Dutch side to silver with a score of 76.24% in the team test.

    The 11-year-old Bellissimo mare was withdrawn ahead of the second horse inspection this morning.

    “The past few days have been great, riding with the Dutch team and being here in Tokyo,” said Rixt in a statement on her Facebook page.

    “We have already had amazing results that we are happy and proud of. Today is a different day though; we have had to decide to withdraw Finn for the kür final. Due to a small unfortunate stumble while walking, she is not ‘fit to complete’. As a precaution, a number of diagnostic studies have been conducted in the clinic and we are positive, but Finn’s health and wellbeing is above all else.

    “Finn is well cared for and is in good hands here. Lots of hugs and love for this amazing horse. We’re glad the whole team is here to support us.

    “Together we are all here, physically or in mind, encouraging Frank and Sanne in their [freestyle] to music. Thank you for all your attention, encouragement and support!”

    As a result of the withdrawal, Canada’s Lauren Barwick and Sandrino, who finished ninth in the individual competition, move off the reserve spot and onto the start list for tonight’s freestyle.

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