Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion dressage star Anky Van Grunsven of The Netherlands announced this afternoon that she will not be a candidate for the Dutch team that will compete at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in September. She has decided not to go through the team selection process after evaluating an injury to her top horse, Salinero. After two months, Salinero's withers are not fully healed from a stall incident, she said in her statement.
"Salinero's withers got injured after a trauma in his stall. He still needs at least one month of rest from now on. To be present at the WEG, it would take another three months to be back in full training," the statement read.
Anky's stallion I.P.S Painted Black is apparently not a consideration either. The stallion's results were varied over the last months and she indicated that he has had a slight injury as well. "Anky thinks the chance to be in the first five positions is very small. Because of her withdrawal, Anky doesn't think the changes for the Dutch team are reduced. The other Dutch combinations have enough quality to be a qualitative complement to the ultimate team effort," were her official words, which were translated into English.
The information does not, however, say whether Anky will try to make the Dutch reining team. There had been speculation that she would try to compete in both reining and dressage. Anky and her Whizashiningwalla BB were second on Saturday at the Netherlands Quarter Horse Association reining show in Nistelrode; her trainer, Rieky Young, was first. She'll compete again next week in reining at Veldhoven.
In 2008 Anky Van Grunsven won both the World Cup and the Olympic gold medal. She was the first (and only) rider ever to win Olympic individual gold three times in row with two different horses (Bonfire 2000 and Salinero 2004 and 2008). She has won the FEI World Cup seven times. In 2006, she won the World Championship Dressage Freestyle at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany.
Last week, the German equestrian federation released a list of candidates for their dressage team, which did not include Olympic Gold Medalist and 2006 WEG champion Isabell Werth, who has recently served a suspension for medicating (or doping, depending on your point of view) one of her horses.
It's hard to imagine a world championship without these two riders. Of course, a lot can change between now and September!