Missing their fourth rider, Tiffany Foster, the jittery looking Canadians did not have the chance to throw out their lowest score and it hurt on the tough, wide, long course at Greenwich Park, designed by Brian Ellis.
Ian Millar, Eric Lamaze and Jill Henselwood combined for 26 points, finishing fifth overall.
Great Britain had to go through a jump off to win the gold medal over the Netherlands after the two teams were tied through regulation.
Nick Skelton, on Big Star, Ben Maher, on Tripple X, and Peter Charles, with Vindicat, were all clean after the course was reset to wrap up the win. Fourth member Scott Brash, on Hello Sanctos, had just four faults.
Saudi Arabia, that team that spent a reported $40 million US on horses, finished with the bronze medal, thanks to a steady, consistent performance.
Foster, of Schomberg, Ont., was disqualified on Sunday morning when officials decided her mount, Victor, was showing hypersensitivity in the left front limb.
Canada loses appeal
Her horse was found to have inflammation stemming from a scratch shortly before the individual and team jumping events began. Canada appealed to no avail.
That decision meant the Canadian team had to count all three of its remaining riders and could not drop off the lowest score, the same situation faced in 2008 at Beijing when Mac Cone's horse was injured. Canada still came up with an Olympic silver.
The cost of losing Foster and George did not turn out to be a direct difference maker on the scoreboard, though the emotions of Sunday could not have helped horses or riders.
Henselwood, of Oxford Mills, Ont., and her mount George came out first and looked strong through the opening sections, including the water. But the final five gates were a problem as the gelding brought down a rail and a fence and slowed the pairing past the time allowed for a total of nine penalty points.
Lamaze, of Schomberg, knocked down the middle of the triple, then took down another rail as his mare, Derly Chin De Muze seemed a touch distracted with the huge crowd surrounding the venue.
Millar, of Perth, Ont., brought Star Power out for a clean first half, but hit gate 9 (a barrier that was being lowered by horses all day) before going safely the rest of the way on four faults for a total of 26 team points.
Even with a clean round from Foster, it wouldn’t have been enough to take the bronze.
After Monday, the top 35 individuals plus ties go through to the next round, 20 to the final round.
Lamaze and Millar were safely through to Tuesday. Henselwood had failed to qualify for the individual after Sunday’s round.
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