Australian event rider Megan Jones has withdrawn her horse, Kirby Park Irish Jester, from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games due to a travel-related illness. “Festy” developed a fever after arriving in quarantine in Los Angeles, and Jones made the decision to withdraw him from the competition.
“Festy is my left arm, my right arm and my soul, and I would do anything to keep him happy, healthy and safe,” said Jones on her website.
The 17-year-old Australian-bred (ESB Irish Enough—Kirby Park Yellow Empress) gelding was on the 2006 WEG team that won bronze, as well as on the silver medal Australian team at the Beijing Olympic Games, where he and Jones finished fourth individually. He is recovering in a Los Angeles equine hospital and will move to a farm nearby until the flight back to Australia in October.
Peter Atkins and Henry Jota Hampton, the stateside reserve, will step in and ride for Australia. Eventing competition begins with dressage on Sept. 30.