Austrian equestrian Victoria Max-Theurer was forced to withdraw from the Olympics on Saturday after learning that her horse had developed a tooth infection.
Max-Theurer said her 11-year-old horse, Abegglen NRW, had been behaving oddly during training but it wasn’t until the horse was seen by a team vet that they discovered he had developed an abscess in one of its molars, Horse&Hound reported.
"The wellbeing of my horse takes precedence over everything for me and nothing can shake that," Max-Theurer told the outlet. "But this also means today, on the day we have worked towards for almost five eventful years, on which we have concentrated everything, we are not allowed to ride into the Olympic arena to show what we can do for our team and Austria.
"This hurts a lot, but the most important thing is and remains my horse’s health," she continued.
The Austrian Olympic Committee called Max-Theurer’s withdrawal before Saturday’s grand prix a "heavy setback."
"We hope that Abegglen will feel better soon and that Victoria will continue on her path," the committee said, via Reuters.
Max-Theurer, 35, would have been making her fifth Olympic appearance. As a result of her withdrawal, Austria will be unable to compete in the team event.