The U.S. Equestrian Federation has announced a substitution to the U.S. Eventing Olympic Team ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Deniro Z, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden by Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (Lexington, Kentucky) and owned by Ocala Horse Properties, has been withdrawn from the team and will be replaced by Doug Payne (Rougemont, North Carolina) and Vandiver, a 17-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Debi Crowley, Doug Payne and Jessica Payne.
Following pre-travel horse evaluations, veterinary concerns prompted additional diagnostic testing of Deniro Z prior to the team’s departure to Europe for pre-export quarantine. Following a thorough review of the testing results, it was determined it is in the best interest of the horse to be withdrawn from the team after confirming he has sustained an injury. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Tamra Smith (Murrieta, California) and Mai Baum, a 15-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell, will be moved into the traveling reserve position.
Will Faudree (Southern Pines, North Carolina) and Mama’s Magic Way, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, will become the first alternates, and Will Coleman (Gordonsville, Virginia) and Off The Record, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate, will now travel to pre-export quarantine in Aachen, Germany, as the second alternate combination.
Halliday-Sharp released a statement on her Facebook page.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I must announce that Deniro Z and I will not be making the trip to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Niro has always been such a fighter, and has continued to feel excellent in his training, but I know him so well and after the mandatory outing we were concerned that he was not completely right. With support from the excellent U.S. Eventing Team vets and farriers, we ultimately determined that he has some bone bruising, and it will not be in his best interest to be put under the pressure of the Olympic Games. While I am completely devastated to not get the chance to represent my country in Tokyo this year, Deniro is my friend and my partner above all else and it would not be fair to put him in an environment as intense as the Olympics if he is not 100%. We feel confident that Deniro will be back in fighting form after a period of rest and rehab and we are already looking ahead to the World Championships in 2022 and beyond with this very special horse, but sadly the timing was not on our side on this occasion.”