Singapore equestrienne Caroline Chew was eliminated from the Tokyo Olympics dressage qualifiers on Sunday (July 25) after her horse was found to be bleeding.
She was the first Singaporean rider to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Found blood in the horse's mouth
The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) wrote in a Facebook post that Chew's horse, Tribiani, was found to have fresh blood in his mouth.
President of Ground Jury Francis Verbeek Van Rooij halted Chew's ride to check, and he confirmed that "traces of blood" were seen in Tribiani’s mouth.
According to SNOC, an immediate veterinary check was done and a "small cut" was discovered on Tribiani's lips, which is suspected to be caused by a stumble at the beginning of the test.
The veterinarian had inspected Tribiani and had reported that "there is no further bleeding".
However, Chew and Tribiani were eliminated from the dressage in accordance to Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) dressage rules article 4220.127.116.11.
The rules state:
"If the Judge at C suspects fresh blood anywhere on the Horse during the test, he will stop the Horse to check for blood. If the Horse shows fresh blood, it will be eliminated. The elimination is final. If the Judge through examination clarifies that the Horse has no fresh blood, the Horse may resume and finish its test."
"Humbled" and "privileged" to have qualified for Olympics
Speaking to reporters after the elimination, Chew said, as quoted by Reuters:
"It was a bit of a freak accident... He was feeling really good actually, presenting really well and then just caught his lip in the corner, I think. I didn't feel it happen, but obviously the judge saw it."
She added that it was "quite miraculous" for her to qualify in the Olympics in the first place.
Chew earned a spot in the Tokyo Olympics only one month ago, after New Zealand announced a last-minute withdrawal.
"It was great and I felt really humbled and privileged to be the first Singaporean at the Olympic Games for equestrian. It kind of a shame how it ended," Chew said, as reported by Reuters.
Team official and coach Matthew Frost said in a Facebook post that he was proud of Chew and Tribiani.
"Thank you for all your support," he added.SNOC's president and Singapore Member of Parliament (MP) Tan Chuan Jin wrote in a Facebook post that despite the elimination, he is "glad" both Chew and Tribiani are "doing well".
Top image from SNOC/FB.