Perhaps Marcus Ehning wasn’t able to sleep well after Cornado didn’t move well after the warm up yesterday evening. At the trot up this morning it was clear for national coach Otto Becker and veterinarian Jan-Hein Sagemakers that the risk of letting the stallion from the Landgestüt NRW compete was too big even though his injury is not a big deal. The president of the federation Breido Graf zu Rantzau said that the loss for the sport was not too big, but that this was an intense experience for Marcus Ehning.
National coach Otto Becker also said it had been hard to tell his rider about his decision: “I feel sorry for Marcus. Over the course of the whole year he has been in outstanding form. And if you saw the horse yesterday the decision was even tougher to make. As yet we didn’t know what happened, it probably is not a big deal. But it was apparent during the trot up that he’s not walking 100 percent clear. It’s a bad time for the team. But I have to give credit to the team – they all stick together.
Marcus Ehning also wasn’t able to tell if it was a real injury or something else: “His movements just aren’t round,” so the 42-year-old. “It’s a bitter disappointment, that’s no question. But there’s too much at stake. It didn’t make it easier that he was in such a good mood, you could see it during the vet check.” When they took him out of his box in the evening after the warm up they noticed that he did not walk clearly, the same happened this morning when he came out of the box. “I do no longer compete with half measures,” the rider said. “But it might be the second medal that I miss.” In 2004 before the Olympic Games in Athens the rider form Borken also had bad luck, then with For Pleasure. Ehning was nominated but had to be replaced short before the departure. “I’m slowly getting used to it,” Ehning tried to develop black humour.
Ludger Beerbaum, who shares a room at the Olympic Village with Ehning, is happy that Marcus Ehning will stay until Wednesday “It’s better for him and for us when he’s with us – he’s a part of us. Even though he would have a good reason to fly home earlier – his wive is expecting their fourth child.”
Team colleague Christian Ahlmann said he emphasized with Ehning :”For Marcus it’s a pity. We try to comfort him, to say a hundred words. Yesterday everything was well and today everything is different. It’s bitter and sad.”
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum was -understandably- happy that she was allowed to compete: “I was really happy. There was less time to coordinate everything and I had to explain everyone why I was wearing white trousers this morning. I’m feeling with Marcus, but that’s how the sport is. He’s a great colleague and has supported me a great deal.” Meredith will not miss her daughter’s first day at school, which she first named as reason for an earlier flight home; it’s on Monday after the competitions.
Daniel Deußer also commended Ehning: “We really have to give Marcus credit for how impeccably he behaves. He’s everywhere, supports us as if he was part of the team. The horse wasn’t really lame, it might just be a minor thing. Maybe it would have come home after all competitions in the same condition in which it arrived here but we wanted to play it safe.”
Otto Becker also confirmed it: “Marcus is a horse man through and through, he always has decided for the horse. It’s a distinguishing character trait that he now supports everyone at the warm up area. But we don’t know how it looks inside of him.”