Horses are one of the most talented animals in the world. Many sports involving horses have been created for entertainment purposes for hundreds of years. Horses are also one of the most beautiful animals in the world, which is why people love horses so much.
For those who have been training for it all of their lives, there’s nothing more important than competing for gold in the Olympics. But for Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands, there was one thing that was much more important: her beloved horse, Parzival.
Cornelissen and Parzival traveled to Rio together to compete in dressage — an equestrian sport in which the horse is trained in certain movements.
The Dutch dressage rider and her pony Parzival won the Olympic silver and bronze medals. They have also won Global and European Gold Awards. They were good to go to win in Rio.
They flew comfortably, the stables were good and the preparation was effective. She said chestnut gelding was optimistic and healthy.
The first few days in Rio were fine, but then, tragedy struck.
“I planned to train early on Tuesday morning, so I was at the stable at 6 a.m.,” Cornelissen wrote in a Facebook post. “Saying good morning to Parzival, I saw the right side of his head was swollen, he had been kicking the walls. I took his temperature: he had a fever of over 40 degrees Celsius [104 degrees Fahrenheit], but he still didn’t look sick. He was eating and drinking and while walking I had a hard time keeping up with him, as always…”
A medical exam concluded that the horse had been bitten on the head by a poisonous insect. They gave him some fluids and by the evening his fever had subsided and the swelling had gone down.
They requested to change their schedule so that they could ride on Thursday instead of Wednesday, to give Parzival a day to recover, but the International Federation for Equestrian Sports said no.
“At that point I didn’t want to compete anymore,” Cornelissen wrote. “Parzival’s health is more important than anything else in this world! I slept at the stables, checking up on Parzi every hour … I was not going to leave him alone! Of course I didn’t get any sleep.”
The following morning, Parzival’s temperature was normal and he was eating and drinking again.
“He was okay, although he didn’t feel very powerful,” she wrote. “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 …. So I saluted and left the arena.”
After all, you have to make sacrifices for the ones you really love.
What this amazing woman did was sacrifice her career for her horse, and many wouldn’t have done it.