The American team veterinary, Dr. Rick Mitchell, confirmed the soundness and good health of U.S. team horse Brentina after the Grand Prix. Debbie McDonald and Brentina achieved an uncharacteristic low score of 63.000% following a test in which Brentina was visibly unlevel in the trotwork and made mistakes in the pirouettes.
“Brentina was thoroughly examined by a panel of three veterinarians per our selection process prior to entering quarantine in Germany,” said Dr. Rick Mitchell. “Furthermore we had the opportunity to observe this mare training twice daily for six weeks, and we evaluated the soundness of all the team horses on a daily basis. There was never any question during that time or now about any aspect of her soundness.”
Dr. Mitchell also explained that per the IOC rules, he evaluated each of the three horses one hour before their dressage test because a replacement was available up until that time. Brentina never demonstrated any evidence of soreness and lameness, and passed the horse inspection prior to the competition without any question.
Up to one hour before a ride, a team can replace a rider with the reserve combination. Michael Barisone and Neruda were on stand-bye but Brentina was fit in the warm up and there was no need to replace her.
In an interview with the press representative of the US. equestrian Federation Joanie Morris, McDonald said: "She’s fitter and sounder than ever. She’s been schooling so well but she was totally different in the ring than she was in the warm up. I was totally caught by surprise when she started spooking in the ring. She got tense and tight and became unrideable.”
The 2008 Olympic Games were Brentina's last competition. The 17-year old Hanoverian mare by Brentano II x Lungau will be retired at her owners' place, Perry Thomas' River Grove Farm in Idaho, U.S.A. A special retirement ceremony will be held for Brentina at the 2009 World Cup Finals in Las Vegas at the (Perry) Thomas & Mack Center.
Photo courtesy: Diana DeRosa
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