Austrian equestrian pulls out of Olympics after horse develops tooth abscess

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In a rare example of dental hygiene being key in an international athletic competition, an equestrian is reportedly out of the Olympics due to a tooth problem with her horse.

Austria's Victoria Max-Theurer withdrew ahead of the opening grand prix in Tokyo on Saturday after her horse Abegglen NRW developed a tooth abscess, according to Horse & Hound's Pippa Roome.

Max-Theurer reportedly explained that "Abby" underperformed in training on Friday, which was later explained when a team vet discovered the abscess in one of the horse's molars.

From Horse & Hound:

“The wellbeing of my horse takes precedence over everything for me and nothing can shake that,” said Victoria. “But this also means today, on the day we have worked towards for almost five eventful years, on which we have concentrated everything, we are not allowed to ride into the Olympic arena to show what we can do for our team and Austria. This hurts a lot, but the most important thing is and remains my horse’s health.”

The development is bad news not only for Max-Theurer, but her Austrian teammates. With only two other horses reportedly presented at Friday's dressage trot-up, Max-Theurer's teammates Florian Bacher and Christian Schumach will not be able to compete in the team even without her.

This would have been the 35-year-old Max-Theurer's fifth Olympics, having competed at every Games since Athens in 2004 when she was 18. She saw her best result in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, finishing 13th in individual dressage.

On the bright side, at least she made it to Tokyo, unlike other Olympic qualifiers.

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