Brentina Declared Sound after Uncharacteristic Olympic Performance

After receiving the lowest score of her career (63.00%), all of Brentina's connections were concerned that--despite giving great performances in training every day leading up to the Games--there might have been something physically wrong with the 17-year-old Hanoverian mare.

"She's fitter and sounder than ever," said Debbie McDonald, Brentina's rider of 13 years. "She's been schooling so well but she was totally different in the ring than she was in the warm up. I was totally caught by surprise when she started spooking in the ring. She got tense and tight and became unrideable."

A thorough examination by U.S. team veterinarian Rick Mitchell, DVM, found Brentina to be sound and well. (Editor's note: The Horse contacted the USEF to confirm that this exam took place following the competition. They confirmed that Dr. Mitchell did examine Brentina after she competed.)

"Brentina was thoroughly examined by a panel of three veterinarians per our selection process prior to entering quarantine in Germany," said Mitchell. "Furthermore we had the opportunity to observe this mare training twice daily for six weeks, and we evaluated the soundness of all the team horses on a daily basis. There was never any question during that time or now about any aspect of her soundness."

Mitchell also explained that per the IOC rules, he evaluated each of the three horses one hour before their dressage test because a replacement was available up until that time. Brentina never demonstrated any evidence of soreness and lameness, and passed the horse inspection prior to the competition without any question.

The plan has always been that Brentina would be retired after these Olympic Games. The mare will live out her retirement at owners Parry and Peggy Thomas' River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho.

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