Shearrived happily enough earlier this month for the Olympic games in Rio, Brazil, with her horse Parzival. Together they won a silver and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and were hoping for similar success this time round.But that's when disaster struck: Parzival was bitten onthe head by a poisonous insect, causing a high fever and swelling of the head.
The doctors gave him fluids to bring down the fever, and Cornelissen stayed by his side the whole time. She writes in a Facebook post:
I slept at the stables, checking up on Parzi every hour... I was not going to leave him alone!
Parzival seemed to be recovering well and the vets said it would be fine to compete with him. But Cornelissen wasn't sure. When she arrived on the day of the event, she knew it wasn't right:
He was ok, although he didn't feel very powerful... When I entered I already felt he was giving his utmost and being the fighter he is, he never gives up...
So she did what any true animal lover would do. She left the arena in order to protect his life.Though it's a heartbreaking end for Cornelissen, she can at least rest assured in the knowledge that she's done everything she can to protect Parzival's life. We hope he has a speedy recovery.