Australian eventer Shane Rose has been ruled out of the Olympic Games after his horse Taurus sustained a leg injury.
He is to be replaced by travelling reserve Megan Jones on Allofasudden.
The team vets had left the decision to the 11th hour to provide Rose and Taurus with every opportunity to get their start at the Games.
But after extensive veterinary examination and monitoring, they deemed the horse not recovered sufficiently to withstand the extensive pressure of the Olympic Eventing competition.
Rose, 39, also missed out in Atlanta in 1996 in what would have been his first Olympic Games, when his horse Mr Joe Cool went lame in the US. He was replaced by Gillian Rolton, and the team went on to win gold.
It was 12 years later before Rose’s Olympic dream was realised when he was selected to compete for Australia in Beijing 2008. As a part of the eventing team, Rose and horse All Luck won a silver medal, with the pair clocking the best cross country round. He also placed 27th in the individual event.
Equestrian Section Manager Brett Mace said that the nature of the sport is that these sorts of injuries in horses can occur, which is why the travelling reserves are on hand.
“This is not uncommon for equestrian for a horse to sustain an injury of this nature close of a major campaign and while the injury is not serious, there is just not enough time for recovery with just under a week to go.
“There is no doubt this is a blow for the team and we feel for Shane who has worked for many years preparing Taurus for these Games. He is a hard working athlete who was a formidable part of our silver medal Beijing team.
“But we had to take the advice of our vets in relation to performance and also horse welfare and therefore Megan Jones and Allofasudden will be added to the team.
“Megan has been working with her horse to ensure they are competition ready. She has the experience and proven track record to make it at this level of competition after finishing with a team silver medal and fourth individually at Beijing.
“The team now needs to focus on finalising preparation, and while Shane will be a loss, we feel our medal chances remain just as strong,” he said.
The eventing team will head into Greenwich Park on Tuesday ahead of the start of the competition on Saturday, July 28.
Other than in 1996, the only other time that a reserve has made it onto the eventing team was in 1992, was Gillian Rolton, and the team again won gold.