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In the Olympic Games there are stories that move. Stories of victories, defeats and that of Adeline Cornelissen. The Dutch has become a reference for thousands of people in the world, especially for protectionists.
What happened? At the age of 37, and in the middle of an equestrian dressage routine in Rio 2016, last Wednesday, he decided to retire to protect his horse, Parzival.
The animar was suffering from an infection and she wanted to take care of him. He dropped everything, even ruling out the chance to fight for a medal.
Cornelissen, who had already won a bronze bronze and a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics, had to compete for a new medal but his love for his horse was stronger.
After what happened, the rider shared the story in detail on her Facebook page. Exciting.
The Amazon's Message
"The first days in Rio were as planned: a relaxed flight, good adaptation. Parzival felt happy and fit. Until yesterday morning ...
He had planned to train early Tuesday morning so he was in the stable by 6am. I said 'good morning' to Parzival, and I saw that the right side of his head was swollen, that he had been kicking the walls.
I took his temperature: he had a fever over 40 degrees, but he still didn't look sick. He was eating and drinking and while he was walking, I stayed with him for a while, as always ...
Jan Greve came immediately and after a double check with the vets, the conclusion was that he had been bitten by an insect, a spider or some kind of animal that produces toxic substances.
So that he could flush the toxins out of his system we gave him some fluids. From 6.30 to 15.45 we kept it at that. It helps the kidneys to cleanse the toxins out of the body.
The clinic's veterinarians took samples from the nose and blood. The temperature dropped gradually and at 3:30 p.m. it was 38.4 ... We then took X-rays of the jaw and an echo of the area was made. Just to be sure. All good.
By the end of the day, the fever had dropped and I took Parzival for a walk. He looked much better and the swelling on his head was at least a third smaller than this morning ...
Then came tough decisions ...
The FEI (note: International Equestrian Federation) was asked if we could exchange places within the starting team, so Parzi could get a day to recover. Compete on Thursday instead of Wednesday. But the FEI did not accept it.
At that time I didn't want to compete anymore… Parzival's health is more important than anything else in this world!
I slept in the stables, checking Parzi's health every hour. I wasn't going to leave him alone! Of course, he did not sleep at all.
Most importantly, this morning (note: Wednesday) the temperature had dropped to 37.5! And again, the swelling had gone down a bit.
New difficult decisions.
I had decided yesterday that I was not going to compete, but now the temperature was back to normal, I looked fit, I was eating and drinking well, and I didn't want to disappoint the team either.
In the back of my mind I knew we didn't have any (horse) in reserve here… What to do? Between 7 and 8 a.m. we were allowed to ride in the Olympic arena. I discussed with Jan Greve and Johan Rockx and we decided that we were going to walk and jog in a saddle for 10 minutes, to see how he was doing.
And so we did… We went to the arena, rode a couple of laps and he looked happy and fit. Returning to the stables the temperature kept dropping.
Again, tough decisions. What to do? He was fit now, but we already knew what happened yesterday… No one would fill my place if I retired, leaving the team.
Questions. What is prudent? I argued with several vets and the team trainer. The FEI vets came and checked he was fine around 10 am. Everyone gave the green light to compete.
We decided we would give it a try. The fever was down, which means the toxins were out of his system. There was still a bit of swelling in the jaw but it got cold all the time and the swelling subsided.
I agreed to give it a try.
I knew the story, I took the warm-up in stride and didn't want to do the full riding. He was fine, although he didn't feel very powerful. Something normal, of course, after a day like yesterday.
I walked a lot to save energy ... When I entered, I already felt that I was giving my best and that Parzi was the boxer that he always is, the one who never gives up ...
But in order to protect him, I gave up ...
My friend, my friend, the horse that has given everything to me all his life does not deserve this ...
So I waved and stepped out of the arena… # TwoHearts. "
Photo: Adeline Cornelissen and her horse Parzival (Photo: AP).