Claudio Castilla Ruiz and Alcaide Drop Out of Spanish Olympic Team

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 11:33
Claudio Castilla Ruiz and Alcaide at the last Spanish Olympic selection trial in Grote Brogel on 1 - 4 July 2021 :: Photo © Astrid Appels

One day before departure to Tokyo, one of Spain's key team members - Claudio Castilla Ruiz and Alcaide - have dropped out of the team and will not compete in their second Olympic Games. 

Alcaide is a 16-year old Lusitano stallion by Lobito x Novilheiro, owned by Castilla and Yeguada Le Perla. 

No Tokyo Swang Song

They represented Spain at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the 2017 and 2019 European Championships and 2018 World Equestrian Games.  The spritzy chestnut Lusitano was a stronghold for the Spanish team, finishing 13th in the Special at the 2018 WEG and 12th in the Kur Finals at the 2019 Europeans in Rotterdam. They were now the second strongest combination on the Spanish Olympic team. 

Alcaide has always been very sparingly competed to preserve his fitness as best as possible. The rider had planned on retiring the horse from sport after Tokyo. 

"Today we go home," Claudio communicated. "I want to be the one to tell you. Alcaide is not 100%. Together with the coach I have decided not to travel to Tokyo. We dreamed that Tokyo was his final touch. We will have to find another location that is up to what he deserves."

Demanding Sport

Castilla Ruiz
Castilla is heart broken about missing the Olympics, the ultimate goal of any ambitious and competitive dressage rider. 

"Sport is demanding and tough, but I try never to lose my smile," he said "There are many of you who constantly tell me that, but today I feel deeply sad. It has been two very difficult years: my son's operation, my father's death, the pandemic and now this. That's life ... I never had it easy. It is time to continue fighting and rebuild."

In 2011 Castilla missed out on achieving his first Olympics when his horse Jade de Mv died right after the European Championships in Rotterdam.

 Claudio wants to stay optimistic and looks forward to the future. 

"Now I want to look forward, luckily I have a large family and many horses are waiting for me in the stable for which I have great goals.
Without filters. The reality of life," he said frankly. "The brave do not give up!"

Who's the Travelling Reserve?

Claudio warming up Alcaide in Grote Brogel
Alcaide's withdrawal from the Spanish team solves the selection problem for team trainer Rudolf Zeilinger who still had to announce who would be reserve for Tokyo. Now both Severo Jurado Lopez and Jose Antonio Garcia Mena will get a team place.

Spain has no extra reserve combinations as both Juan Matute Guimon and Juan Antonio Jimenez both declined to go into quarantine in Aachen.

Mena has two horses in quarantine in Aachen, Sorento with whom he's team selected and his rising star Divina Royal.

(Editor's note: On Monday late afternoon the Spanish Equestrian Federation confirmed that Ferrer-Salat, Jurado Lopez and Garcia Mena with Sorento will make the team. Divina Royal is the reserve horse.)

Photos © Astrid Appels

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Jade de Mv Passed Away
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