Verdi and Maiken van der Vleuten of the Netherlands on their way to Olympic team jumping silver on August 6. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.

After pulling three rails in succession early in the first of two rounds in today’s Olympic individual jumping medal final, the Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten pulled up his mount, Verdi.

The ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (by Quidam de Revel) on Monday helped the Dutch team to secure team silver. So although Verdi did not appear unsound when van der Vleuten retired, naturally we wanted to know what prompted his decision to abort the round.

“The horse has done already a lot this week,” van der Vleuten said. “We had already, like, five rounds in a row. Yesterday [the day off between jumping competitions] I rode my horse a bit, and I could feel he did already quite a lot. He was not as loose in his body as normal. This morning it feels already much better, so then it was a bit, ‘Shall I go today or not?’ It’s the choice you make. He jumped very well in the practice arena, but I still did not have that hundred-percent feeling, so I made the decision to try. But then your mind is more with your horse than with the thing you have to do. Then I go