(Reuters) – Britain dropped out of the silver medal position at the Dressage European Championships in Rotterdam on Tuesday after Charlotte Dujardin’s score was excluded because blood was found on her horse.
Three-times Olympic gold medallist Dujardin had produced her personal best Grand Prix score of 81.91% on the 10-year-old mare, Mount St John Freestyle, to put Britain second behind Germany, with Netherlands in third.
However, small traces of blood were found on the mare’s flank in a routine inspection by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) steward.
“Blood was found on the left flank of the horse in the post-competition check. In accordance with article 422.214.171.124 of the FEI dressage rules, this results in elimination,” the FEI said in a statement.
“Elimination under this rule does not imply there was any intent to injure the horse, but the rules are in place to protect the welfare of all competing horses.”
Without Dujardin’s score, Britain dropped to fourth behind, Sweden and missed out on a medal by less than 1%.
“I’m obviously absolutely devastated – nothing like this has ever happened to me before,” Dujardin said.
“The health and welfare of my horses is always my number one priority, but of course I accept the decision.”
Britain have already qualified for the team dressage event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after winning bronze at last year’s World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)