History Repeats Itself in Las Vegas: Crowd Favorite Goes Lame Before Dressage World Cup

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The headline this morning on Dutch dressage rider Anky Van Grunsven's web site says it all: "Parzival teruggetrokken!" (Parzival withdrawn!)

The last time the FEI World Cup was held in Las Vegas, we were all eager to see the sensational Danish mare Blue Hors Matine perform. She had been runner-up at the World Equestrian Games in 2006 in Aachen, Germany; could Andreas Helgstrand and the graceful gray beat Anky van Grunsven and Isabel Werth? The world was interested....and then devastated. The horse was injured before the event even began.

And this year, we have the same situation. Holland's Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival made the trip after winning three qualifiers at home in Europe and being runners-up to Isabel Werth at Aachen in 2008. They are the sensation of Europe and are actually placed higher in Las Vegas than Anky, who is there as defending champion but had limited competition this year because of her sore back.

But on Wednesday the 12-year-old Parzival was taken to the veterinary area when he appeared unlevel. According to the Dutch Warmblood news society (KWPN), an ultrasound revealed a tendon injury and Cornelissen has withdrawn him.

Adelinde has only recently become a professional rider, after traveling to Hong Kong as the Dutch team's reserve rider. She speaks perfect English and will be a great ambassador for Holland wherever she goes but, had she been able to ride, she just might have changed the course of dressage history.

Remember her name, and let's hope that Parzival's injury is only minor. This horse has true star power.

I'm gobsmacked.