Australia’s Top Dressage Horse Loses Cancer Battle

The aptly named dressage horse “Cinderella” has danced her last waltz.

Australian dressage star Cinderella lived a fairy tale life. Photo courtesy of Equestrian Australia.

With a heavy sense of the inevitable, I have been following the news from Germany and Australia regarding the dressage mare Cinderella. She was the first horse to qualify in dressage for Australia and was ridden by Matthew Dowsley at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen last year in spite of a recurring tumor over one eye.

Franz Venhaus, of the Equestrian Federation of Australia, has kindly shared his reports, but I read on his web site today that Cinderella has been euthanized.

On April 4, the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare had surgery while training in Europe to remove a second malignant growth from under her right eye. The tumur had grown to a length of 8.5 cm. As a result, Cinderella did not make the trip to Las Vegas to compete for Australia’s honor at the 2007 FEI World Cup there in April.

According to Franz’s reports, Cinderella was given special medication that is also used in human cases of this nature.

Subsequently,a new cancerous growth was discovered on her larynx and Franz warned that there was a chance of it spreading to other organs.

Before 2006, Australia had never had a rider qualify for the Grand Prix Special at a WEG. But both Matthew and teammate Kristy Oatley were among the top 30 riders from the Grand Prix test to make it through to the Special.

Matthew said he greatly appreciated the opportunity he’d been given by Cinderella’s owner, Claudia Harper from Sydney, to base himself (and Cinderella) in Germany with Australian Dressage Training Adviser Ulla Salzgeber.

The EFA has a nice slide show of photos of the late, great Cinderella.

At the 2007 World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany last week, teammate Oatley placed fourth with Quando-Quando in the Grand Prix CDI and 7th in the Freestyle. Australia has come a long way in a short time in international dressage, but will surely miss Cinderella’s magic.




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