Olympic medal contender withdraws from key selection trial, another hopeful retires

  • Isabell Werth has announced the withdrawal of Wendy De Fontaine (formerly Queenparks Wendy) from the 2024 German dressage championships in Balve, as first reported by Eurodressage.

    This is significant because Balve is one of two mandatory selection trials for the German Olympic dressage team. The second trial will be held at the Aachen CDIO5* (7 July).

    Isabell Werth took over the ride on the 10-year-old mare in January following Andreas Helgstrand’s ban from competition.

    “Unfortunately Wendy suffered a minor injury in the paddock on Sunday and suffered a bruise,” said Isabell. “This needs some rest now and that’s why she won’t start in Balve.”

    Isabell will compete her World Cup finalist DSP Quantaz at the championships.

    “Quantaz now bears the responsibility alone on his shoulders,” added Isabell. “This is of course a pity, but I’m still looking forward to Quantaz and Balve.”

    DSP Quantaz was part of Germany’s silver medal-winning team at last year’s European Dressage Championships.  But Wendy De Fontaine’s scores have been trending slightly higher than her more experienced stablemate. Both horses have done three grand prix tests in 2024. Wendy De Fontaine has an average across those outings of 75.47% to DSP Quantaz’s 74.96%.

    Wendy De Fontaine’s scores have also been increasing in that period (74.35% to 77%) while DSP Quantaz’s scores have been decreasing (76.87% to 72.24%).

    “Her welfare and best interests come first”

    Australian team stalwart Lyndal Oatley has withdrawn from contention for selection for the Paris Olympics and announced the retirement of her top ride Elvive.

    “As a strong contender for this year’s Olympic team, I had high hopes for this mega-talented mare,” said Lyndal. “However the decision to move forward, or not as fate has decided, has unfortunately been a simple one.

    “Elvive sustained an injury in the final moments before entering the arena in Lier for the special, where she was in top form and was highly placed in the grand prix. Despite the team’s best efforts, we cannot help her return to top sport.”

    Lyndal added that her 10-year-old mare Dante’s Herzchen, who made her grand prix debut in March, will not be stepping up for Olympic team contention. “This talented mare has an amazing future ahead and I want to give her the time to develop and nurture this process,” she said.

    “Horses like her don’t come along very often in a lifetime and her welfare and best interests come first.”

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