Sweet Caledonia was not declared fully fit following the final routine veterinary assessment yesterday (14 August). Regrettably, ‘Cally’, owned by Yvonne Bennett and Natasha Adkinson, and ridden by Natasha, has had to be withdrawn from competition and has not travelled to this year’s European Championships in Gothenburg.
The British Dressage selectors have decided that the combination will be replaced by Erin Orford (28, from Buckinghamshire) with Annabel Whittet’s Dior, who will represent Great Britain alongside Suzanna Hext (Abira), Julie Payne (Athene Lindebjerg) and Sophie Wells (C Fatal Attraction).
Performance Manager for Para-Dressage, Sarah Armstrong says; “I’m very disappointed for Natasha and her team. While we don’t believe that this will in any way impact the combination’s performances for Great Britain in the future, the decision was made in the best interests of the horse.
“We welcome Erin to the team, for what will be her championship debut. The team behind the team and I are looking forward to supporting our athletes in Gothenburg, knowing their preparation has been solid and that they will be targeting personal best performances.”
Natasha Adkinson says; “I’m absolutely gutted, but Cally is my main priority and my focus is now on getting her sorted so that we can concentrate on next year’s World Championships. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me.”
Erin adds; “It’s a horrible situation for Natasha and I really feel for her. It [heading out to the championships] hasn’t really sunk in yet; we’ve just been on overdrive to get everything ready - it all feels a bit surreal. I just want to thank my team and sponsors for their support; Dior has felt on good form so hopefully we can go out there and show our best.”