For the first time in seven years Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival have not been selected on the Dutch team for the major championship event of the year. The 18-year old Dutch gelding was unable to prove enough fitness and was not submitted to the Dutch team for the 2015 European Championships in Aachen by Dutch team trainer Wim Ernes. Cornelissen has now announced that she will retire her horse in 2016.
In an interview with Dutch equestrian magazine De Hoefslag at the 2015 Dutch Championships last weekend, Ernes was open about his decision making process not to include Cornelissen. He confirmed that the the die was already cast after the 2015 CDIO Rotterdam in June, where Cornelissen and Parzival made their only 2015 competition appearance. They were third in the 3* Grand Prix with 74.420%, their lowest Grand Prix score since July 2008.
"Last winter I agreed with Adelinde that if one of us thought the time was ripe to say goodbye to the team, that we would communicate it to each other. After the test in Rotterdam I thought the moment was there. It was an emotional conversation that I had with Adelinde, but I believed that no and on the long term there no longer would be an opening for a team spot for her and Parzival," said Ernes. "There they still scored 74%, which is not bad, but they came from 80%. How long do you want to wait until it might become even less? They were dropping in the scores and then you are breaking down a legend. This combination does not deserve that. They meant so much to Dutch dressage. Don't forget that it's thanks to Adelinde and Parzival that we are qualified for Rio."
One week after Ernes' interview with De Hoefslag, Adelinde Cornelissen also spoke with the magazine.
"I was indeed surprised that the team coach communicated it like that," she admitted. "On the other hand it is his choice and he is the one who makes the team. Of course I prefer to have seen it differently. Participating at the European Championships was a goal this seaon."
Cornelissen had planned on competing at the 2015 Dutch Championships last week, where the final selection trial was held, but she had to withdraw because her 18-year old chestnut was not fit.
"Right before the Dutch Championships Parzival took a wrong step. It was nothing serious. At the end of a training session I wanted to ride the beginning of the test and I felt it in the extended trot," she explained. "Parzival is still doing his job well and I wanted to show that he can still do it, but I still decided to scratch."
When asked if Cornelissen is thinking about retiring Parzival now that the team trainer has said that a team spot is no longer available, Cornelissen replied with vague terms that a retirement will be in 2016 but she does not yet know when and where. Parzival will be 19 years old then.
"As long as he still enjoys the game and can participate, the possibility will be there that I appear at a show," said Cornelissen. "This won't happen if I have the feeling that it's just for show. I haven't made a plan yet, but it is possible that I will still compete him this winter show season. A retirement sometimes crosses my mind. It will be in 2016 but I don't know yet the exact moment and location."
Cornelissen has two rising Grand Prix horses coming along, the home bred Zephyr (by Jazz) and the inexperienced show horse Aqiedo (by Undigo ) as well as two youngsters, Fleur de Baian (full brother of Parzival) and the KWPN stallion Governor (by Totilas x Jazz).
Source: De Hoefslag - Photos © Astrid Appels
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