Thursday, September 16, 2004

OLYMPIC FOOTING: Controversy underhoof at the Athens Olympics Games

It's either too hard or too soft. Too dry or too wet. Anyone who has ever worked in show management knows the importance of good footing, particularly for outdoor show jumping.

The controversial injury of three horses in the show jumping arena at the recent 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece is being blamed on the footing. Allegedly, many shoes were lost as well.

USA top horse (and bronze medallist) Royal Kaliber, ridden by Chris Kappler, is recovering from his superficial flexor tendon injury suffered in the final jumpoff and the injury is not thought to be career-ending.

The YouTube video shows Royal Kaliber in his first round, where he performed an absolutely flawless circuit of the towering fences for the United States. He was pulled up before completing his final round but was still awarded the individual bronze medal; the United States won the team silver.

Following the disqualification of Ireland's Cian O'Connor for a medication violation, Royal Kaliber and Chris Kappler moved up to silver.

It was a complicated event. Royal Kaliber moved to The Netherlands to recover from his tendon injury but suffered from colic and was ultimately euthanized just a few weeks after the Olympics.