WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY…..
Sam Watson (Flamenco) – Those devices are there to look after us and I fu approve not only because they do that but because they make you ride precise and accurate, and it was the one time I let adrenalin go – there’s the fence, inside line, got there a fraction too early and he barely touched it. If your timing is off, if you don’t keep yourself 100% relaxed, you make mistakes and you don’t want to make mistakes at the Olympics. I’m deeply deeply frustrated because he was ready for this, he was really good. He loved it, he kept his ears pricked and just enjoyed doing his job the whole way.
I tried to be 100% ruthlessly efficient. Second water he took off out of my hands. Took off a mile off, I thought he’d chip one in but he didn’t. Just had to slip the reins and sit back and he was magic through the rest of it. He just loves the game, he felt really well.
I knew at the start there was a chance he could be a bit bold on me early on because he really wanted to get going, He’s been in quarantine, acclimatising, he really wanted to let loose. I’m very proud of him. It would be some privilege to have the ride on him in Paris in three years because he’s still young enough. And I thought in his test and out there on the cross-country he’s got so much more to give.
(Talking about the 11 penalties picked up at the corner at fence 14 when triggering the frangible pin) – “At the open oxer – I wanted to be positive the whole way and I was – he just got a big jump in, covered a lot of ground and I just got a little close. I heard the clip, never felt it – it’s so frustrating.
Austin O’Connor (Colorado Blue) – I am delighted with my horse’s performance, the horse was great. He has jumped clear inside the time and is one of the few to do that today.
It is why I am here. There has been a big build up to this competition, in some respects with this horse I have been building up to it for five years. It is a massive relief, the punch in the air was probably a bit over the top but you have got to enjoy these moments.
I don’t think there were any difficult moments for us. It rode as it walked. The water jumps took lots of jumping. I think most people were going long at the coffin at the end which in hindsight was the obvious thing to do but if I was to do it again I would have taken the direct route.
He seems to have recovered really well. Finished up with loads of gallop. He is a class horse.
We will all enjoy the next phase now. We will get the horse recovered and myself recovered and hopefully come out and finish on a good note.
Sarah Ennis (Woodcourt Garrison) – He was quiet in the warm-up, not saying that’s an excuse for him, he’s quite a buzzy horse, he headed out good, jumped the first few really well, first water he was a little strong, jumped well again, then he seemed to get a bit tired, he got longer and heavier, I was cantering up the to the drop and I had it in my head I should go long because I was really struggling to turn him, I got to the drop and loosened his jaw a bit and he came back to me, popped off and locked the jaw and there was no turning him. I would have had to have been 20 stone heavier.
He felt tired and long so my aim was just to get him home. I planned the last water straight and I changed to the long route and I was glad I did, I even struggled to turn at that one. Don’t know whether he’s not feeling 100% himself or whether the heat got to him.
It’s very difficult first time competing in this heat and you don’t know how your horse will cope with it. We did Luhmuehlen and it was much drier heat, about 34 degrees, but this is different, it really zaps them. I was very careful down below I didn’t do a whole pile of warm-up, I stood him under the fans for ages so he was very cool before he went out. You’re hitting new territory and you have to go out there and find out. I hate that I had a run-out and I thought I just have to get him home. I’d love to have tried the straight route but I knew he was on the floor. He wouldn’t have picked up.
If I can complete it I’ll be happy. We’ve been a little unlucky. Hopefully we all get through tomorrow. It’s been a tough one.