Cook thrilled to have mount healthy

26 July 2012 / 16:50

British eventer Tina Cook admits that being part of London 2012 is a "surreal" experience.

Her London 2012 horse Miners Frolic was close to death last summer after contracting colitis.

Cook's double bronze medal-winning Olympic ride was admitted to an equine hospital in Sussex, where his condition was so bad that owner Sarah Pelham drove to Arundel ready to say an emotional farewell.

But little more than 12 months on, the 2009 European individual champions are back and ready for another Olympic medal push.

"It is fantastic to be here," Sussex-based Cook said. "It feels a little surreal, to be honest. We were not expecting the horse to be here, so it's so exciting for all involved. He is very well and he feels amazing."

The signs of colic - a painful inflammation of the colon - first emerged in June last year, but Miners Frolic rapidly deteriorate, and Cook added: "The vets did not think he would live. He was fighting for his life. Only 50% of horses survive colic. He was on a permanent drip, had very high levels of toxins in his blood and was hallucinating.

"I thought that was it. He was very, very ill, and it would have been an awful way for any horse to go, let alone one who has done as much for me as he has. I felt so helpless. I had never been involved in anything like this before. He was totally in the vets' hands."

Due to the illness, Miners Frolic missed all the 2011 Olympic qualifying competitions, and time was against her if Cook was going to emerge in the London selection picture. However, it all came together at Ballindenisk in Ireland at the start of this season, where Cook went for Olympic qualification early in the year, and it paid off.

They then followed it up with a solid showing at the Bramham International in early June, which was effectively a final selection trial, before being named in the British team alongside William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Zara Phillips and initially Piggy French, who was later replaced by Nicola Wilson after her horse DHI Topper W suffered an injury.

"It is just fantastic to be here," said 41-year-old Cook, of her first London Olympic experiences. "The horses have settled in, and there are amazing surfaces everywhere. For us as riders, every whim has been catered for. There are no complaints whatsoever."