Great Britain's Oliver Townend announced today that he has withdrawn his horse Ashdale Cruise Master from Britain?s reserve list for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. According to a statement posted on his website, he has decided instead to concentrate on preparing himself and his horses for next year and qualification for the London Olympics in 2012.
Oliver said: ?Next year is going to very important in terms of qualification for the Olympics and it is in everyone?s interests here to prepare well over the coming winter. I want to start that preparation as soon as possible.?
Townend won Badminton and Burghley in 2009 and was headed for the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in April when Ashdale Cruise Master went down, pinning Townend beneath him. The rider was rushed to a Lexington hospital and treated for multiple chest injuries. Luckily, his air vest inflated on impact.
One of Townend's final competitions for 2010 will be next week at Burghley, where he will defend his title with Carousel Quest, one of his signature greys. Townend won Burghley in 2009 on Carousel Quest a year ago. ?I was going to take Ashdale Cruise Master as well but decided against that. He has done enough this season and it is far more important that he is rested. After all, he is going to be an important horse for me in the next couple of years. It was a huge achievement for the whole team to win at Burghley last year and it will be great to try and do it again with Carousel Quest.
?He is a true Burghley horse, who has had a relatively quiet season and I'm sure he will rise to the occasion.?
The British team list traveling to Kentucky will be
Tina Cook riding Miner?s Frolic
William Fox-Pitt riding Cool Mountain
Piggy French riding Jakata
Pippa Funnell riding Redesigned
Mary King riding Imperial Cavalier
Nicola Wilson riding Opposition Buzz
The non-travelling reserves (in alphabetical order) are Daisy Berkeley (Spring Along), Sharon Hunt (Tankers Town), and Lucy Wiegersma (Woodfalls Inigo Jones).