High Kingdom was being tacked up about an hour before his test — scheduled for 1.08pm local time — when he kicked out in his stable and split the skin on his off hind on the outside of the pastern. The cut was attended to and then the horse was brought to the warm-up, but unfortunately it became clear he was not 100% and would not be able to compete. It was decided, in the horse’s best interests, to withdraw him.
High Kingdom returned to his stable and had a few stitches.
“It’s sad for Zara and High Kingdom’s owner Trevor Hemmings — it’s a long way to come and the horse came here in good form,” said British eventing performance manager Yogi Breisner. “Zara was looking forward to the cross-country as she thought it would suit him well.
“But the health and safety of the horse is paramount. He’ll be performing all right again in a day or two — it’s like if you cut your finger and it’s a bit sore around the edges for a bit.”
Zara was set to make her Rolex Kentucky debut this year with High Kingdom, with whom she won team silver at the London Olympics in 2012 and at last year’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Caen. The 14-year-old by Master Imp finished 11th individually at WEG and eighth in London. The pair’s other good results include finishing second at Luhmühlen in 2013.
High Kingdom was entered for Badminton as a back-up to Kentucky and has not been withdrawn. He could therefore run at the British four-star in two weeks’ time (7-10 May), depending on his recovery from the injury and how he comes out of the flight home.
“He’ll travel home on Monday and arrive in the UK on Tuesday so we’ll assess how quickly the wound has healed,” said Yogi. “We wouldn’t do anything which would endanger him and if he can’t come to Badminton in peak condition he might be re-routed to an event later in the season.”
More updates from Kentucky online over the weekend. Full report from Kentucky in H&H next week, out Thursday, 30 April.