Irish showjumper and world ranked number two rider Jessica Kurten has announced that she is not available for Olympic selection.
She told media yesterday that her horse, Quibell, was a bad flyer and conditions in Hong Kong might not suit the horse, who was currently out for possibly six weeks with an injury. Another of Kurten's top horses and a top Olympic hope, Castle Forbes Maike, has recently been sold. And she said that Castle Forbes Libertina had had a busy indoor season and needed a break.
Ireland has been allocated one show jumping place at the Olympics due to Kurten's high placing in the individual FEI Olympic rankings.
Irish Show Jumping Team Manager Robert Splaine said Kurten's decision was a pity, and she would have been a favourite. "Her performances over the last year have secured us a place in the Olympics and I am now focusing on selecting a horse and rider to fill that place.
"The reality is that riders need as much notice as possible to prepare for the games so I will be moving to make a decision on this quickly."
Horse Sport Ireland has called a press conference for June 3 in Kildare, and Splaine will announce his decision then.
Kurten is also facing a suspension, from June 7 until August 6, involving medication issues with Castle Forbes Maike, but she has appealed the decision.