Olympian Drops Out Of Games During Event To Save Her Horse’s Life

Credit: Alchetron
Credit: Alchetron

Adelinde Cornelissen and her horse, Parzival, were no strangers to the Olympics; the dynamic duo won a silver medal in the 2012 Olympics for individual dressage and the bronze medal in a team event.

The 2016 Olympics were set to be another great year of competing for the pair, and as Cornelissen said on Facebook,

“The first days in Rio went according to plan. A relaxed flight, stabling good, training good. Parzival feels happy and fit.”

However, after these first few harmonious days, things took a turn for the worst. Parzival was bitten by a poisonous insect on his head, and his head began to swell as he came down with a horrible fever.

Fortunately, on-site veterinarians came to Parzival’s rescue and gave the horse fluids to reduce the swelling and his fever. With Cornelissen right by his side, the fever and swelling decreased soon after treatment.

“I slept at the stables, checking up on Parzi every hour. I was not going to leave him alone!” Parzival’s human wrote on Facebook.

Credit: Adelinde Cornelissen
Credit: Adelinde Cornelissen

Taking into account all of the hard work they had put in to get to the Olympics and the team that traveled with her that worked tirelessly to make sure everything went according to plan, Cornelissen decided that she and Parzival would still compete. The veterinarians had said that Parzival would be fine and he was acting and looking better.

Since Cornelissen has been training with Parzival since at least 2004, she knows the ins and outs of his energy levels and can assess how he’s feeling when she’s with him.

When she entered the arena for their event, she knew something wasn’t right. Though he was hitting his marks perfectly, Cornelissen knew he wasn’t at his best.

“When I entered, I already felt he was giving his utmost,” she wrote. “Being the fighter he is, he never gives up.”

Cornelissen had to make a split-second decision that might decide the rest of her and Parzival’s future, and she ultimately decided in favor of her beloved horse.

She explained on Facebook:

“In order to protect him, I gave up. My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything for me his whole life does not deserve this … So I saluted and left the arena.”

She made the humane decision to put Parzival’s life, the horse that has already given so much to her as a loyal companion and partner, before fame, medals, and her reputation.

Though it surely left many feeling disappointed, we’re glad that this human made the humane decision to put her horse before anything else.

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