Danish Grand Prix rider Nanna Skodborg Merrald has decided to retire her top horse Millibar from sport after a three year struggle to get back him back from injury.
"In January he was operated on, where we removed the splint from the bone," Merrald told Eurodressage. "The surgery went well, but rehabilitation was not as I expected. He was still not fit in the trot. When we went to the vet in March, we took some x-rays of the hind leg and it had become worse than last time we did x-rays in January. There was some new bone formation. In the end it was a combination of the x-rays and that he wasn't clear in the rhythm, which made us decide to retire him."
Merrald and the now 16-year old Danish warmblood Millibar (by Milan x Liberty Dane) won team silver and Kur gold at the 2010 European Junior Riders Championshipsmade the transition from Under 25 Grand Prix level to senior Grand Prix at the CDI-W Odense in October 2013. They scored 71.532% in their first senior CDI Grand Prix and 78.325% in the Kur. With super mid seventy percentage marks at the World Cup qualifiers in Stockholm, Neumunster and Gothenburg, Merrald and Millibar launched themselves as Danish WEG team hopefuls in 2014. As a 21-year old Merrald qualified for the 2014 World Cup Finals in Lyon, where Millibar failed the vet check after he injured himself there.
Skodborg Merrald and Millibar made their international show come back at the 2016 CDI Hagen in April after a two-year break. The CDI Hagen was meant to be a first step towards 2016 Danish Olympic team selection but the show did not go as well as planned with a 63.640% in the Grand Prix and the horse appearing unwilling and not fresh. Millibar went off again and never returned to the show ring.
Ridehesten broke the news about Millibar's retirement. The bay gelding will spend the rest of his at home in the field. Nanna will now continue her professional career with new, rising Grand Prix horses. Amongst them is Gørklintgaards Quantico, an 8-year old Danish warmblood by Quaterback x Carpaccio.
"I have three horses that I hope will be ready for Grand Prix this year. It's difficult to say which one of them will be the best, but right now I think Quantico will be number one," said Nanna.
Photo © Astrid Appels
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