July 31—London, England
The Olympic eventing field has narrowed by six after the final horse inspection this morning, and both the U.S. and Canadian squads suffered losses.
Boyd Martin, the lead-off rider of the event, presented Otis Barbotiere, but after being sent to the holding box, he withdrew.
"As the first out yesterday I was a bit worried about slipping, and maybe we over studded a little bit. I think he's got a bit of a sprained ankle," said Martin. "We thought he was improving this morning, and he looked OK on the way down, but on that hard ground on the way back he was pretty sore. It was in Otis' best interest to withdraw him."
Martin's wife, Silva, later posted on their blog that Otis probably had an infection, which was good news for his long term recovery.
Michele Mueller (58th place) did not present Amistad, who was one of only two remaining horses from Canada after cross-country. She posted a statement that Amistad had torn a tendon on cross-country and would be retired.
Polish individual rider Pawel Spisak’s horse Wag (41st) was sent to the holding box and also then withdrawn. The only other horse held, Swedish rider Ludvig Svennerstal's Shamwari (seventh place) passed upon re-inspection.
Belgium will now not complete a team, as two of their four remaining riders withdrew before the jog: Mark Rigouts (Dunkas A; tied for 51st) and Joris van Springel (Lully Des Aulnes; 34th). Donatien Schauly of France also did not present Ocarina du Chanois (tied for 18th).
Many horses looked visibly tired this morning after yesterday’s grueling cross-country outing. Most teams, including the United States, jogged their horses more slowly and more in-hand than on Thursday.
A few riders, however, clearly had their hands full with very fit mounts. Belgian rider Karen Donckers lost a shoe while sprinting alongside Gazelle de la Brasserie, and Britain’s Nicola Wilson (Opposition Buzz) and Mary King (Imperial Cavalier) had to race their horses down the jog lane. New Zealand rider Caroline Powell’s 20-year-old veteran, Lenamore, was one of the most electric and energetic mounts presented today.
Martin had been in 26th place on 54.3 penalties, and the loss of his score is a blow to the U.S. team. They’ll now head into show jumping using Tiana Coudray’s mark of 77.6 with Ringwood Magister.
Jessica Phoenix and Exponential will now be Canada’s only pair in the show jumping.
The jumping round for team medals begins at 10:30 a.m. BST, followed by the individual medal round.
Check back later today for a photo gallery from the final horse inspection, and for full results, visit the London 2012 website.