Pregnant Wild Horse in Idaho Stabbed to Death Ahead of Adoption

Source: Multiple

Dee had been adopted and was only hours away from going to her new home when she was killed.

AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – A local ranch owner is looking for some answers after finding one of her mustangs stabbed to death.

Click Image to View Video

Click Image to View Video

It happened Sunday morning on Fish Hatchery Road in American Falls.

“A Little Piece of Heaven” ranch in American Falls said around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, one of their mustangs was stabbed to death.

“Around 2:30 the dogs were going crazy and we just thought it was coyotes and we came out and one of the mustangs was out here, Dee, laying in the field,” said Erin McGuire, whose mother Kimberly Clark, owns the ranch.

Dee was about 5 or 6 years old and was pregnant. She was due to have her baby in about a month. When Dee was found, she had bled to death from what appeared to be two different stab wounds.

Dee was first stabbed near the fenceline that runs along a public access road. Dee then ran to the middle of the field where she ended up with a second stab wound, this time in the head.

“A Little Piece of Heaven” ranch is a temporary home for rescued horses. It works with the group “Miracle Mustangs” who saves dying horses and those would otherwise be sent to slaughter. The ranch is one place horses are sent to and cared for until they can be adopted to permanent homes.

Dee had been adopted and was only hours away from going to her new home when she was killed.

The ranch said she was a great horse and they already miss her a lot.

“She was a sweetheart,” McGuire said. “She made us all laugh. She was like a dog, she was one of the sweetest mustangs we’ve had here so far. She would go up to the irrigation pipes and bite at the water like a dog.”

The ranch reported the incident to the Power County Sheriff’s Office, who is currently investigating it.

Clark wants to encourage anyone who may know something to call the sheriff’s office and let them know.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to raise money for a reward to catch whoever is responsible.

Around 5 p.m. Monday afternoon, a veterinarian and police took another look at the horse. They said Dee’s nasal cavity was completely shattered. They believe that injury occurred first, and then wound in her side occurred second.

The vet said it’s possible the wound in Dee’s side could have come from a branch as she ran, but it could also still be a stab wound. He said the nose wound is unexplainable, and believes someone did it. Clark said police aren’t ruling anything out at this point and they told her they won’t have conclusive results for about a month.

If you have any information you think could help with the investigation, call the Power County Sheriff’s Office at 208-226-2311.

Facebook post saves a horse from slaughter — and perhaps many more in the future

as published on Lexington Herald Leader

She was a 10-year-old Belgian in Pennsylvania, a former work horse, rescued from a slaughter pen with hooves so damaged she could barely walk.

Jamie Puckett, center, and other teachers at Julius Marks Elementary School went to Walnut Hall Stock Farm on Aug. 8 to meet Mercy, a rescue Belgian draft horse that will be the ambassador for Take the Reins, a new service learning program at their school to teach children about the equine industry and benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. Tom Eblen

Jamie Puckett, center, and other teachers at Julius Marks Elementary School went to Walnut Hall Stock Farm on Aug. 8 to meet Mercy, a rescue Belgian draft horse that will be the ambassador for Take the Reins, a new service learning program at their school to teach children about the equine industry and benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. Tom Eblen

It was a slow Saturday afternoon in January at the L.V. Harkness & Co. store on Short Street. Owner Meg Jewett was surfing Facebook when a picture on one of the horse rescue pages she follows leapt off the screen and touched her heart.

It was of a 10-year-old Belgian in Pennsylvania, a former work horse, rescued from a slaughter pen with hooves so damaged she could barely walk. Within minutes, Jewett had bought the mare she would name Mercy.

Then Jewett, who also owns Walnut Hall Stock Farm, started thinking through the challenges: How would she get this horse to Kentucky? If she could save her, what would she do with her? And how would she explain all this to her husband?

As it turns out, husband Alan Leavitt, a fellow horse lover, had bought a 29-year-old rescue Standardbred he had not told her about. So that part was easy. The rest, not so much. Jewett and her farm staff went to Pennsylvania with a trailer, carefully brought Mercy back to Walnut Hall and spent months nursing her back to health.

What is Mercy’s future? The gentle giant who loves nothing more than having people pet her and feed her horse cookies is beginning a second career as the “spokes-model” for a new service-learning program for Fayette County Public Schools.

The program, called Take the Reins, has two goals: to teach children about horse care, the industry and compassionate service; and to raise money and awareness for the Kentucky Equine Humane Center.

Mercy will be taken by horse trailer Aug. 29 from her forever home at Walnut Hall to Julius Marks Elementary School, where 750 students will get a chance to pet her. That will launch a Take the Reins pilot program, which organizers hope to expand to other Lexington schools next year.

“I feel very honored that this has fallen into my lap,” said Julius Marks Principal Lynn Poe. “It’s bringing the real world into our classrooms and teaching children that it’s not just about receiving but about giving back.”

Jewett is a founder and board member of the 11-year-old Kentucky Equine Humane Center, located on a 72-acre farm in Jessamine County. The center cares for about 50 horses at a time. Some are brought there by authorities after they have been found abandoned. Others are surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them because of health or financial problems.

With a lot of help from the industry, including Alltech and the major equine veterinary practices at Rood & Riddle and Hagyard, the center’s small staff heals and retrains horses and finds them new owners.

The center takes horses of all ages and breeds from Kentucky and has sent them to new homes all over the country.

“The eventual goal is for every horse here to be adopted,” said Karen Gustin, the executive director. “A lot of our placements are a perfect match: the right people, the right horse at the right time.”

More than 1,000 horses have passed through the center, spending anywhere from weeks to years there in rehabilitation.

“You really do see magical things happen with our horses,” Gustin said. “Some of them don’t make it, but a large majority do.”

The idea for Take the Reins developed quickly this year as Mercy healed.

Gustin and Jewett had always wanted a fundraising, education and community outreach program for the center. Laura Schnettler, a center volunteer, works for L.V. Harkness, as does Mindy Mobley, the PTA president at Julius Marks.

They found eager partners in Poe, an award-winning principal with a background in both the horse industry and service learning curricula, and Alltech co-founder Deirdre Lyons, whose company is the presenting sponsor of Take the Reins.

While Mercy is the face of the program because she is gentle with children, Julius Marks students will actually “foster” a 5-month-old black and white grade colt that was brought to the center from Eastern Kentucky after his abandoned mother died. The center staff has named him Patrick’s Bullseye.

Julius Marks students will write letters to the colt, draw pictures of him and write stories about him, Poe said. In math lessons, they will calculate how much hay and straw he needs and what that costs.

Young students will grow carrots for Patrick’s Bullseye in the school garden, and fourth- and fifth-graders will take field trips to the humane center and see him. The school will have guest speakers from the equine industry, and the curriculum will incorporate elements of the state’s guidelines for college and career readiness.

“I can see some of them becoming veterinarians, veterinary assistants, farriers, farmers, running non-profits,” Poe said. “Our kids are so creative, and they are ready to make a difference in this world.”

Poe said she has talked with the principal of Locust Trace AgriScience Center about how its high school students could collaborate with her children on the project. Julius Marks students and their parents will raise money for the colt’s care, which costs about $500 a month. Fundraising ideas will come from the students.

“There are all sorts of ways that they will create, they will lead and we will support,” she said. “You know, the best initiatives come from young minds.”

Help End Cruelty of Soring Horses

as published on The Lexington Herald Leader

Soring has been going on for about 60 years. It has been immoral all of those years, and illegal for 45 of them.

Undercover video footage released in 2012 documented cruel treatment of horses in the Tennessee walking horse industry. It showed the use of painful chemicals on horses’ front legs to force them to perform an artificially high-stepping gait for show competitions. This practice, known as “soring,” has been illegal for more than 40 years under the federal Horse Protection Act. Humane Society of the United States

Undercover video footage released in 2012 documented cruel treatment of horses in the Tennessee walking horse industry. It showed the use of painful chemicals on horses’ front legs to force them to perform an artificially high-stepping gait for show competitions. This practice, known as “soring,” has been illegal for more than 40 years under the federal Horse Protection Act. Humane Society of the United States

I have owned, cared for and competed on horses much of my life.

Soring is, without question, the most cruel training practice I have ever seen or heard about in the entire horse world.

Don’t know what soring is? You are not alone. It ranks right up there with dog fighting, but it requires a bit of explanation. It’s used by a hard core of trainers in the Tennessee Walking Horse world, and involves putting caustic chemicals on the horse’s front legs, wrapping the legs in plastic wrap and bandages, and letting the chemicals “cook” into the flesh.

After several days, the bandages are removed and chains are fastened around the ankles of the horse, biting into the injured flesh. Extremely heavy, tall shoes (“stacks”) are then attached to the front hooves with metal straps.

The effect of this painful process is that the horse tries to remove all weight from his front legs, adopting an exaggerated sitting position when moving and flinging out the front legs in a movement that is referred to as the “Big Lick.”

Among a very entrenched group of aficionados, the Big Lick is the pinnacle of show-horse movement. Among everyone else, it is horrifying cruelty.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees enforcement of the Horse Protection Act of 1970 that was supposed to end soring forever, has finally developed a set of regulations that have (somewhat) more teeth than the original legislation proved to have.

The new regs will eliminate the tall stack shoes (but not all weights in shoes), and also address a key problem in the inspection process at shows by mandating the use of USDA-approved inspectors — up to now, the industry paid its own inspectors, with predictable results.

USDA already has a few inspectors, but they can only cover about seven percent of all shows. But when they are present, they find a lot of horses that have signs of banned substances or scarring from soring chemicals and chains. Over 85 percent of horses that USDA tested were found in violation at the industry’s biggest championship show, the National Celebration, in 2015.

Soring has been going on for about 60 years. It has been immoral all of those years, and illegal for 45 of them.

With stronger regs in the offing, the industry is claiming that economic devastation of entire areas of the country will ensue.

Ridiculous, of course.

Soring advocates talk out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand, they have recently started insisting that soring either does not happen anymore or that only a tiny number of trainers use these methods. Out of the other hand, they insist (most recently at a public comment session held by USDA in early August) that the proposed regulations will have huge economic impact.

They can’t have it both ways. Either there is no more soring going on, in which case the proposed regulations won’t impact anyone, or soring is happening every day, and they most certainly have to change their ways.

The solution is obvious: Stop training for the Big Lick. Do what many others do — train for a natural movement, which these beautiful horses are bred for. They will start to see spectators in the stands again, instead of empty seats. Charitable sponsors will come back. And they and everyone else won’t have to see billboards about horse torture. People will come back to this breed, instead of turning away from it.

For those who love animals and hate cruelty, go to and add your voice in favor of the regulations. Public comment is open until Sept. 26.

Jo Ellen Hayden, a prize-winning dressage rider and horsewoman, lives in Lexington.

Feel Good Sunday: Woman Could Have Picked Any Horse, But She Chose This One

By Christian Cotroneo as published on The Dodo

When her husband offered to buy her a horse, it might have sounded like a fairy tale come true for Kimberly Lewis.  But in the end, Lewis settled for the one horse whose life was more like the opposite of a fairy tale.  Something, in fact, closer to a nightmare.

After looking at several horses and not feeling a connection, Lewis happened to drive past an animal shelter.

That’s when she spotted the shelter’s latest refugee.

“She was a heartbreaking sight,” Lewis tells The Dodo. “Total skin and bones, hair matted, hooves overgrown.”

BeforeThe most striking thing about the horse was her eyes. The light seemed to have gone out from them. Like the horse had just given up.

That’s when another kind of light flicked on inside Lewis.

“I knew she was the one,” she recalls.

Make no mistake: This was no show horse. Before arriving at the shelter, her sole function in life was to breed. In fact, her previous owner had started breeding her from such a young age, the horse lost her first baby — an outcome that sparked her owner’s wrath.

“He beat her and starved her, and kept her locked in a small pen,” Lewis says.

At last, the horse’s old owner agreed to give the horse to a member of his family, who, in turn, brought the battered horse to the shelter.

And along came Lewis.

“I called my husband and told him I wanted her,” she says.

Lewis had no idea if this horse was too shattered to ride. Or if she would even live much longer.

“All I knew was she deserves a chance to be a horse,” she explains.

Lewis handed the shelter $50. She named the horse Dolly — up until then she had been a horse with no name — and took her home on May 23, 2015.

And on the family’s 156-acre farm in Tennyson, Texas, the transformation began. Lewis spent countless hours with Dolly, building her strength, rebuilding her spirit — restoring her faith in humanity.

And gradually, from the embers of a shattered life, a princess emerged.

At 4 (or possibly 5) years old, Dolly stands tall at 16 hands. She weighs 1,400 pounds — nearly twice as much as the haggard 812 pounds Dolly checked in at a year ago.

Dolly After

“The biggest change is her eyes and her personality,” Lewis says. “She is a goofy girl and loves to follow me around.”

Indeed, you don’t have to look long to see the light has returned to Dolly’s eyes — and that both human and horse have found their fairy-tale ending.

“The thing is, as corny as it sounds,” Lewis says, “we rescued each other. I am constantly learning from her, becoming a better person because of her.”

Dolly is hardly the first neglected horse to be transformed by love. Countless more are still waiting for their heroes. Want to help?  Consider supporting, donating or volunteering at a horse rescue near you.

State of the Industry: A Look into Charleston’s Carriage Industry

Courtesy of Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates (CCHA)

Loaded Carriage

Travel and Leisure recently ranked Charleston as number one on their list of best cities in the world. Unfortunately, this position may be short-lived.   In the words of one tourist, “My enduring memory of the visit (to Charleston) will be the sight of one of your carriage horses foaming at the mouth as the poor creature pulled the carriage full of sightseers, through the street on a very hot Saturday.” (see The Post and Courier, August 21, 2015). Letters such as this may indicate one reason why Michael Connelly, from Fodor’s Travel, wrote an article on 15 things not to do in New York City. His advice included “Don’t take a carriage ride.” The Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates (CCHA) urges the same for our city.

Growing Concerns

 July 2016 broke the record for the hottest July in Charleston. Horse-led tours are halted when temperatures reach 98 degrees or the heat index hits 125, but there are no guidelines currently for humidity. Heat stress can occur when these levels surpass 75%. Unlike cities such as New York and New Orleans, Charleston’s regulations allow horses and mules to pull carriage tours in the most extreme weather conditions of the summer. Surveys by Charleston Magazine and The Post and Courier reveal the growing concern for these animals. In 2014, 49% of the respondents polled in favor of banning carriage horses in Charleston. In 2015, the percentage increased to 72%. Despite this growing dissatisfaction, little has been done to change how the carriage industry operates.

The City and CCHA’s Response

 In July of this year, the city’s department of Livability and Tourism announced the upcoming formation of a committee to address the issues regarding the carriage industry. This is the second committee to assemble after the collapse of a carriage horse in July of 2015. The CCHA found the recommendations of the first committee to be seriously flawed. Following the conclusion of last year’s assembly, the Charleston Animal Society senior director of veterinary care publicly confirmed that she was not allowed to fully review or comment on the committee’s findings.

Next Steps

Charleston Carriage Horse AdvocatesTo ensure a fair review of the industry’s practices, the CCHA is appealing for an independent review. This will ensure that this year’s findings and recommendations are delivered from an impartial and unbiased source.

To show your support of the CCHA, follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @CCHA.join and on Twitter at @CCHA_join.

Update: Former Wild Horses found dead, $100K reward offered to find culprits who sabotaged horse preserve

Story by I-Team’s George Knapp on

A dozen or more wild mustangs at a preserve in Elko County died of thirst after someone disabled all of their water sources.

A reward of $100,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for a disturbing act of animal cruelty.  WARNING: Some of the images you are about to see are disturbing.

A dozen or more wild mustangs at a preserve in Elko County died of thirst after someone disabled all of their water sources.  The mustangs were living at the preserve because they were rescued by businesswoman Madeleine Pickens.  In addition to the dead horses, dozens of others are now missing.

“They got little Scarlet,” Pickens said.  “She wasn’t a pony — just a small horse. She was so sweet.”

Pickens said when she arrived Monday afternoon to her Elko County ranch, one of the first dead horses she saw was a mare known at the ranch as Scarlet. Pickens named her.

The withered remains of 11 more Mustangs were found in and around the water sources that had been installed for the horses. Each of the pumps and wells used to provide water to the horses had been sabotaged, disabled, dried up, which meant the 60 or so horses living in that sector had no water in the summer heat.

Reward: $100,000 offered

“The horses know where all the water is,” Pickens said.  “Every one of them was off, so all they could do is die of thirst, and it’s not a  pretty death. It’s horrible to see them laying there.”

It’s not the first time Picken’s property has been vandalized.  She’s spent seven years, along with $25 million turning a barren, overgrazed cattle ranch into the 600,000 acre Mustang Monument.

The Mustang Monument is an eco-resort and sanctuary for 700 or more wild horses which were ransomed and rescued by Pickens before they could be sent to a slaughterhouse.

However, due to the continued opposition by the BLM and Elko County officials — the eco-resort is closed. Pickens and her staff still operate the monument as a self-sustaining foundation, and when she’s on the property, she helps feed the Mustangs.

The sabotage occurred in the northeast corner of the property, more than an hour’s drive from the main ranch house.  Ranch hands check every week on the herd living out there. They found the carnage over the weekend.

But it was more than random vandalism. Every gate was open and every fence was cut and laid down. A few horses were still alive when they were found, but they were too weak to stand.

“I feel so guilty because I rescued these horses from the killer-buyers and from going to slaughterhouses,” Pickens said.  “They’re on a 12,000-acre private piece of land — all fenced in with wells and springs — and they should be safe. But some hoodlums, some outlaws come in and kill them.”

Pickens staff contacted the Elko Sheriff’s Office, but they’re not confident there will be much of an investigation, so Wednesday afternoon, she told the 8 News NOW I-Team she was offering a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible.

“I’m in shock. It’s so disturbing when you drive by and see these beautiful bodies lying on the ground,” Pickens said.

If you have any information regarding these crimes against Saving America’s Mustangs and Mustang Monument, please call Rean Wegley immediately at 858-759-5517 or contact her by email on

The I-Team had recently visited Mustang Monument as part of a planned news series.

Former Wild horses found dead at Madeleine Pickens’ Sanctuary

By George Knapp , Bill Roe as published on

“Looks like the nature loving, highly educated, welfare ranching ‘Good ole Boys’ been busy’!” ~ R.T.

Click Image to View Video

Click Image to View Video

A reward of $100,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who caused the deaths of a dozen or more horses in Nevada.

The mustangs were on a private reserve in Elko County created to save wild horses from going to slaughter.

The owner of the property calls it an act of terrorism, and in light of what was done, it clearly was no accident. The images are graphic.

The dead horses were discovered over the weekend on a 12,000 acre parcel, part of a much larger ranch owned by philanthropist Madeleine Pickens south of Wells, Nevada. One of the dead animals was a Pickens favorite, a small brown mare she named Scarlet. In one of the images, Pickens is kneeling with Scarlet’s carcass. Also dead, at least 11 other mustangs that had previously been saved from the slaughterhouse by Pickens. Dozens of other horses are missing.

Sometime in the last week or so, unknown persons vandalized several gates on the large enclosed preserve. Fences were cut, and worst of all, all of the water pumps were disabled, meaning the mustangs had no water for days. Most died of thirst in the summer heat. The I-Team spoke to Mrs. Pickens by phone Wednesday afternoon.

“No question, this was not an accident. This wasn’t just one well that went dry or something in the solar panel didn’t work. Everything was shut off, cut off, fences were cut and rolled back. They wanted all the horses to escape. They shut off the water holes so they couldn’t drink,” Pickens said.

Pickens has spent $25 million to create her Mustang Monument sanctuary and eco-resort which is home to 700 rescued mustangs, but the plan has faced continuous opposition from the Bureau of Land Management and Elko officials sympathetic to cattle (welfare) ranchers, as well as wild horse advocates.

There have also been many previous acts of vandalism, but nothing like this.

Feds Ignore Public Sentiment : Issue Plan to Capture Fort Polk Wild Horses and Send to Slaughter (if no one adopts them)

The U.S. Army just peed in their Post Toasties

While Louisiana was drowning on Monday the U.S. Army made its final decision/statement regarding wild horses that live on land in a National Forest that Fort Polk has taken over to use for training.

The horses will be captured, 10 to 30 at a time, and offered to animal rescue groups. (yippee) If groups don’t take them, the horses will be offered to the public (Kill Buyers). If no one takes them, they will be sent to stockyards for sale (straight across the boarder to slaughter).

Compassion and Common Sense no longer exists in our Federal Government, here’s the bad news:

Descendants-of-Cav-Horses-at-JRTCThe Joint Readiness Training Center commanding general has made a final decision on the Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the disposition of trespass horses at Fort Polk.

Using the National Environmental Policy Act process, Fort Polk developed and analyzed a variety of alternatives, including those recommended in public comments, to eliminate the danger to American military personnel caused by the trespass horses.

“Based on my review of the analysis and public comments, I have determined that the selection of any of the proposed courses of action would have no significant impact on the environment and the preparation of an environmental impact statement is not required. Thus, I have made a final decision to implement Course of Action 7,” said Brig. Gen. Gary M. Brito, JRTC and Fort Polk commanding general. “I believe this is the correct course of action that will allow Fort Polk to remain the Army’s Premier Training Facility. Our efforts will mitigate safety hazards to our Soldiers and will reduce negative impacts to training.”

Fort Polk officials estimate that approximately 700 to 750 trespass horses occupy U.S. Army training lands on Fort Polk and the Peason Ridge Military Training Area creating a potential safety hazard and disrupting training.

Under COA 7 the Army will catch and corral groups of horses, about 10-30 at a time, and offer them to animal welfare groups such as the Humane Society for inclusion in their adoption program. If animal welfare groups do not take the horses, the Army will offer them to any citizen that will take them, and if that fails the horses will be transported to a livestock auction for sale.

The timeframe for eliminating each group of 10-30 horses will be about 30 days. Concurrently, Fort Polk will actively search for a landowner to take the horses en masse and will also attempt to find another government agency to remove and accept responsibility for the horses.

“The alternative that was selected offers the best opportunity to find a new home for every horse and protects American Soldiers from a catastrophic incident while training at Fort Polk,” said Brito. “This plan gives all interested parties the opportunity to be involved in helping the Army solve the problems it faces.

“For this program to work, we need your help. We look forward to working with interested parties to help these horses find permanent homes while making Fort Polk a safer place for our Soldiers to train,” said Brito.

The next step in the process is to begin developing lists of animal welfare groups and citizens interested in taking the horses. Interested parties can find the full details of the process on page 31 of the environmental assessment at

“Animal welfare groups and local citizens can sign up to be added to one of the two lists Fort Polk is developing by sending an e-mail to Animal welfare groups should send appropriate documentation so that Fort Polk officials can verify their status as 501(c)(3) groups. Everyone signing up for the program should include good contact information including email address and telephone numbers and the quantity of horses they are interested in taking.”

Reward Increased in Deaths of 3 Arizona Wild Burros

Feel Good Sunday: Olympic Rider Adelinde Cornelisse quits Rio 2016 after horse falls ill

Story by

“I am not much of a follower of sporting events so the Olympics fall under that umbrella of disinterest and of no concern.  (except it is difficult to live in the Greater Houston area and not hear about the local, gold winning Simones, hurrah)  But this week I did sit up and take note of a particular competing duo that stepped up and stood above the crowd, not because of what they did but instead because of what they did not do.  An Olympic rider decided NOT to compete for the safety and well-being of her sick horse.  Now THAT was something that touched me all the way down to my toes and back again; an athlete with a heart that was by far, much bigger than any ego.  I am forever moved.

My hat is off to one of the biggest winners of the summer Olympics in Rio, Ms Adelinde Cornelissen, thank you for showing us what a REAL winner looks like and for reminding us to continue to act from the heart, even when it hurts.  You will always be the biggest Olympic winner, ever!!!”  ~ R.T.

(CNN)A Dutch dressage rider’s Olympic dream is over after her horse fell victim to an insect bite at Rio 2016.

Cornelissen and Parzival won a silver and a bronze medal at London 2012

Adelinde Cornelissen shocked fans by quitting the Games mid-test after her horse Parzival contracted a fever the day before the event.

Cornelissen and Parzival, who won individual silver and team bronze together at London 2012, retired from the individual Grand Prix Wednesday after only a handful of movements.

And it’s likely to have been Parzival’s final Olympic performance because the Dutch warmblood gelding is 19 years old.

Cornelissen took to Facebook and explained she pulled out of the Games over concern for Parzival’s welfare.

The day before the event, she said her horse’s head was swollen and Parzival had developed a fever, the exact cause of which is still unknown.

Cornelissen said the Dutch team had asked to alter the starting positions of the team to give the horse another day to recover but the request was refused by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

On the day of the event, Parzival was deemed well enough to compete by FEI vets but during the test, Cornelissen realized something was not right,

“In the arena he felt totally empty and I decided not to continue. He did not deserve this,” she continued.

“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.”