Gold medal-winning dressage rider Adelinde Cornelissen dropped out of the 2016 Rio Olympics this year.
Four years of relentless training and passion lead of the the event, one that earns medal winners prestige and recognition.
But when it comes down to it, there’s something more important to that.
On the day of her first major test, Cornelissen noticed that her horse Parzival’s face had swollen he had been kicking the walls in agitation. Cornelissen took his temperature – over 40 degrees Celcius.
Parzival had been bitten by some kind of spider or bug – the toxins were causing him severe irritation. Cornelissen slept in the stables, checking on her horse every hour.
She asked for her event to be rescheduled, but was declined.
Although he recovered a little following day, and the vets gave the all-clear, Cornelissen pulled-out midway through her test.
“When I entered I already felt he was giving his utmost and being the fighter he is, he never gives up. But in order to protect him, I gave up. My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything for me his whole life does not deserve this.”
She saluted and left the arena.
Indoor Arena Etiquette
Quick note: People ride because they love it. Intentions are always good, so try to be kind and understanding if errors are made.
Always wear a helmet
Even if you aren’t riding. If you step into the arena, you need to have a helmet on.
Mount outside the arena or in the very middle
Otherwise, you risk getting in everyone’s way – which is dangerous. This is the same for making adjustments to your stirrups etc.
Ride in the direction of the other horses
Don’t ride against the flow, it will make things more difficult for everyone.
Close the gate behind you
Don’t leave any gaps open through which horses could escape.
Let faster horses/riders travel on the outside of the track
Fast outside, slower inside. This helps things flow best.
Don’t leave horses unattended
Sharing an indoor requires everyone to be aware and cautious of their horses at all times.
Announce your intentions
If you’re about to pass someone from behind, say ‘passing on your left’. Do this for all actions that it would benefit others to know.
Maintain a horse length from the horse in front of you
This allows everyone time to react to anything unplanned.
Don’t talk over the rail
Doing this will put you in the way of other horses and riders. If you need to talk to your trainer, make sure you’re out of others’ path.
No dogs on the arena
This could spook other horses. Dogs can also get in the way of riders.
Give your commands quietly
Don’t shout or yell when commanding your horse. This makes the arena more difficult for everyone to enjoy.
Clean up afterwards
Make sure that any mess you’ve made is cleaned up when your session is over.
Warm of any loud noises
If you’re going to do something you know will cause a loud noise, let others know. A loud sliding door could spook other horses.
Read more: 16 equestrian tips and tricks
Download: Dressage arena dimension sheet