A horse has been euthanized after injuring its leg in a devastating accident at the Tokyo Games.
Robin Godel, a competitor from Switzerland, was riding the fourteen-year-old horse Jet Set when tragedy struck. He was injured in the cross country event during his first Olympic Games.
Halfway through the event, the horse landed awkwardly, causing a ligament in its leg to rupture. Onlookers watched horrified as the animal had to be dragged off the course.
He was then taken to a veterinary clinic to be examined where it was found that the damage was irreparable. Experts decided the kindest thing to do for the horse was to put him to sleep. It was a truly heartbreaking decision.
It is with great sadness that we announce that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanised after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during the Equestrian Eventing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on 1 August 2021. pic.twitter.com/B5hUZv2Pux
— The FEI (@FEI_Global) August 1, 2021
The equestrian federation FEI said in a statement: "The horse received immediate veterinary attention at the fence and, after an initial assessment, was transferred by horse ambulance to the onsite Veterinary Clinic.
"Sadly, ultrasound scans revealed an irreparable ligament rupture in the lower right limb, just above the hoof, and on humane grounds and with the agreement of the owners and athlete, the decision was taken to put the horse to sleep."
People on social media are devastated by the news...
One Facebook user wrote: "All horse riding should be banned. They wouldn't choose to jump these in the wild and it's just animal cruelty. Rich toffs that don't care for the animals' welfare, just themselves and a medal. Sickos"
While another commented: "Sometimes you just can't save a horse. That is the medical reality of serious leg injuries such as the ruptured ligament. However hard you try, however much you might wish the horse better, some injuries are just impossible to overcome with an acceptable quality of life for a horse."
"Has anyone stopped to consider that the horse was in Japan? Not its native country? How would he have been transported home? And prosthetic limbs will never work! It's a sad fact of life but a decision was unanimously made for the sake of the injured horse," a third wrote.
RIP jet set stay strong robin godel 🕊😔 pic.twitter.com/IedhLXCJdZ
— kiss my duck (@niis_bukowski) August 1, 2021
Godel's coach, Andrew Nicholson, was the owner of Jet Set. The horse was the winner of the 3-star Bramham event in 2016, and this was his first Olympics.
Godel was forty-seventh after the dressage event, and desperately needed extra points to make it to the next level.
However, that just wasn't meant to be as Jet Set injured his leg in the last water jump, at the twentieth fence on the course, just 5 jumps from the finish line.
Godel was heartbroken that this was his last competition, saying: "Jet was an extraordinary horse. He left doing what he liked to do most: galloping and flying over obstacles."
A post mortem is currently under way to determine exactly what caused Jet Set's injury.