New Zealand denied team finish under blood rules, as four combinations eliminated from World Dressage Championships grand prix

  • New Zealand’s Gaylene Lennard and Jax Johnson became the second combination of the World Dressage Championships to be eliminated from the grand prix under blood rules. The pair completed their test for a score of 69.63%, but were eliminated after the stewards check “returned a slight pink colouration” from the horse’s mouth.

    As a team of three – the first dressage team New Zealand have fielded at a World Dressage Championships since 1998 – Gaylene’s elimination meant that the team could not complete, thus losing the chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

    “We are all devastated for Gaylene,” said Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance general manager Jock Paget. “She and Jax produced a brilliant test and a strong team finish at their first world champs. It is so unfortunate for it to unravel like this.”

    Gaylene and Jax Johnson had already had a nervous start to their World Dressage Championships campaign, after the 12-year-old Johnson son was not shown at the dressage trot-up on Friday morning; the horse was reported to have been running a fever. They were allowed to present the following morning, prior to the start of the grand prix, and were passed by the ground jury.

    The Hungarian pair Csaba Szokola and Enying were also eliminated after blood was discovered at the stewards check following their grand prix test on Saturday.

    Two pairs out of the 94 that begun the grand prix were rung out by the judges during the test, with the ground jury judging the horses to be unlevel. The first of these was Ireland’s Sorrell Klatzko, who was eliminated early in her test on day one, and the same fate awaited Poland’s Katarzyna Milczarek and Guapo on day two of competition.

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