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WEG cross-country: What the riders said

Comments from some of the riders after the cross-country phase of the eventing competition Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

» Andrew Nicholson: “Not good enough”

New Zealand's Tim Price and Wesko travelling well before they were pulled up two fences from home.

New Zealand’s Tim Price and Wesko travelling well before they were pulled up two fences from home. © PSV Photos

 

William Fox-Pitt GBR

1st on Chilli Morning

Eventing leaders Willian Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning.

Willian Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning. © Rolex

quoteNaturally I’m very happy and proud of Chilli Morning. He worked damn hard and never gave up, he can be strong and he can be keen but actually he gave me a lovely ride and he jumped brilliantly. I am really happy the plan worked today, I’ve never ridden a three day 10 and a half minute on that terrain before – there was no let up, every stride was hard work.

He was strong. He always is because he’s a feisty and opinionated horse. As he’s a stallion I didn’t know how long he’d dig deep for me but he did the whole way. He’s never been asked these questions before or over such a demanding track and ground but he was amazing.

It was the hardest terrain I’ve ridden, because the ground was very soft and the course demanding, but Chilli gave me a lovely ride. There are not many Eventing stallions who would keep trying for you like that and I’m very proud of him.

I took him easy in the first part because the most important thing that Yogi Breisner (GBR Performance Manager) said was “just get home – it is no good looking amazing for eight minutes and not getting home”, so I did waste a little time, but I certainly didn’t have much petrol in the tank at the end. I am so proud of him as he kept on trying. He deserves what he achieved today and there is nothing I can do now – we will have to see what happens but I am very relieved!

 

Sandra Auffarth GER

2nd on Opgun Louvo

quoteI liked the course and all the questions for the horses and the riders, but I didn’t like the ground so much. I think that was the main part of the course and the reason why the horses were a little bit tired, but I am really happy with my horse – his jumping was fantastic and I had a really great round.

 

Boyd Martin.

Boyd Martin. © Jane Thompson

Boyd Martin USA

9th on Shamwari 4

quoteI came here expecting the toughest competition in the world and I got it. But I’m well mounted. Shamwari has the heart the size of Ayers Rock. He is also as honest as the day is long. If I could point him in the right direction I knew that he would try his hardest to get through the flags.

 

 

Michael Jung GER

3rd on fischerRocana FST

quoteShe did a wonderful job. She was very focused. I gave her a little more time in between fences, but her energy when she saw the fences and lit up was fantastic.

It’s hard. You start too fast and then your horse gets tired, starts to slow and there is no chance of making the time. It is possible that someone might make the optimum today but I doubt it. I thought the ground would be better than it was. I was wrong.

It was hard work for the horses, with the soft ground my horse lost a lot of energy between  the fences, but fischerRocanna is a fantastic horse, she was fighting from the beginning to the end. The last water [Rolex combination] is really tough and I am very happy about my round. Everything was very good on the fences and my horse gave me a great feeling – just the last water she was a little bit tired but she was good.

Maxime Livio FRA

8th on Qalao de Mers

quoteI have never ridden with such patriotic support, not just for French riders but for every nation.

I accomplished what I set out to do. I’m thrilled. Qalao Des Mers is only 10 and this was his first four-star. He’s an astonishing horse and although he’s a little ‘horizontal’ when he gallops he’s got a lot of character. Cédric [Lyard] and Pascal [Leroy] advised me to slow down during one or two parts of the course to let him take a breather. I tried, but the more I tried the faster he went.

His strength is his weakness. He gives too much and puts too much into the jumping. At times I had to keep him from jumping too high and too far. I was fighting to keep him in check but he’s like that all the time. With more experience he’ll calm down.

When I saw Rodolphe [Scherer] cross the finish line with his arm in the air I understood that it was possible. Even though Rodolphe was competing as an individual his performance gave me a boost.

I’m very happy because my horse is making such progress in the competition.

 

Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio.

Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio. © Jane Thompson

Stuart Tinney AUS

11th on Pluto Mio

quoteIt was hard to keep going. The ground got particularly bad in some spots but he (Pluto Mio) was great, he dug deep and jumped really well.

The crowd helped him at the last water jump, they got involved and he pricked his ears and off he went. He rose to the occasion and the crowd cheered.

 

Nicola Wilson GBR

12th on Annie Clover

quoteShe was amazing and gave it her all. When I walked the course at the beginning of the week I knew it would suit her but you never know how they are going to cope with everything. I just wanted to get her into a rhythm that she could stick to. This experience is right up there, you had to dig deep and try hard it’s a proper championship challenge.

I feel very emotional. I have been trying hard to control myself as I’m so incredibly proud of Annie Clover. Mum bought her as a four-year-old and to get her to this level and here is amazing. She has never seen anything like this I said to her this is how it’s going to be for 11 minutes Annie you have to dig deep and she did just that. She was so straight and on her line and she seemed to have it all sussed out before we even got to a question.

British team member Tina Cook, who is in 14th place on De Novo News.

Tina Cook. © Jane Thompson

Tina Cook GBR

14th on De Novo News

quoteHe gave me a really fabulous ride. He’s a bit of a baby still and was really looking around on the course. Pierre Michelet has done a fantastic job with a course which has caught out a lot of top combinations. There’s no such thing as a perfect cross country round but he was fabulous; he’s so scopey and he went where I wanted him to go. I can feel that ability in him, that’s such a relief when it’s so much easier for them, he just kept galloping, really dug deep and did me proud.

I rode each fence as I saw lots getting caught out this morning. I watched the first 12 or so and then went out to see the ground. He’s not that fast but he’s a monotonous galloper. He proved that at Badminton and I just had to make sure that I had enough horse for the final water.

The ground stayed quite consistent. I didn’t change my plans after re-walking it. My horse is quite a character and he just keeps going for me. He’s very intelligent and I’m excited about him. I bred him out of a mare I rode around Burghley — she was actually pregnant with him at that event.

 

Zara Phillips GBR

15th on High Kingdom

quoteIt was tough out there but High Kingdom was a total star. I really enjoyed it [going out first for the British team] as you can just go out and ride it, and go straight, and get on with it.  I know how good my horse is and to go out and get a clear round for the team is great. You’ve really got to be sensible out there and just get them home. You’ve got to look after them and just make sure you keep jumping.

I am happy with him, I know how good he is so getting a clear round in the bag will hopefully make the team feel a bit less pressure, but it is hard work. You have just got to be sensible and get them home but keep jumping.

My horse was definitely in charge. I was just steering and trying to hang on. I was too far off the hedges but he got me out of trouble. I wasn’t nervous because I knew the horse I was on. He was fantastic.

I was way off the fence at the second water but he just kept on a straight line and kept jumping for me. It’s such an honour to be in the team and to get round clear for my country.

 

Sam Griffiths AUS

17th on Paulank Brockagh

quoteIt’s just like riding at Badminton. I turned my watch off half way round. I dread the riders going later. It’s a real endurance test and I wouldn’t want to ride a horse without much Thoroughbred in it today.

 

Bill Levett.

Bill Levett. © Jane Thompson

Bill Levett AUS

19th on Shannondale Titan

quoteMy advice to the team was throw the watch out of the window, don’t ride too fast and get home. Shannondale Titan was really genuine and he tried the whole way for me even when he was tired. The ground was just so holding.

 

Sam Watson IRE

23rd on Horseware Bushman

quoteYou had to combine looking after your horse with remembering it was a world championship and riding for your life. For me, it feels like a great day’s hunting in Ireland when you’ve jumped fences you’d never dreamed of and you’re now in the pub recovering!

 

Aoife Clark IRE

24th on Fenya’s Elegance

quoteThere was a lot of pressure being the last to go for the Irish but Fenyas Elegance pulled put all of the stops for me. She took her customary strides out everywhere but she did it in spectacular style. Sometimes I wonder why I bother walking the strides for her! She settled into a nice rhythm and was strong but incredibly balanced so I didn’t need to set her up.

It was a tactical move to take the long way at the fourth fence and the last water — to settle her and to play safe for the team.

 

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott Peter Barry and Kilrodan AbbottHawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice Hawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice

Jessica Phoenix CAN

28th on Pavarotti

quotePavarotti was amazing for his first 4*. I could just cry. That horse is so incredible. He has maturity beyond his years, and I’m just so excited for his future. I definitely didn’t push him for the time. I just let him cruise around.

 

Giovanni Ugolotti ITA

29th on Stiko Kontika 

quoteStilo Kontika was great out there. He was foot perfect. I didn’t rush as I prefer a fresh horse for the morning. The feedback was coming through the warm up that there were problems and tired horses.

 

Shane Rose AUS

30th on Taurus

quoteHe’s (Taurus) never run on anything even remotely like that but he’s a super cross country horse and I’m very pleased with him. At one point I didn’t think we’d get home, I really didn’t cope with the ground and I started to panic a little.

He struggled to get across the ground. But once he got over the double brushes he figured out how to get around and he got a second wind. We had to get him home because unfortunately we are down a member so it was very important to get through those finish flags.

 

Selena O’Hanlon CAN

43rd on Foxwood High

quoteI just got such a bold jump into the water, and I didn’t want to pull back on him. He’s green, and he was going so strong and a little bit flat up the bank. He couldn’t see what was on the other side, and he just drifted left and got the white flag between the legs.

 

Maria Pinedo ESP

47th on Windsor H

quoteThe ground took a lot of strength from the horses. I took some options for my team to be safe but I am so pleased with my horse. This was my first four-star. I bought Windsor as a six-year-old from the Elite Eventers auction in Germany and we have learnt together.

Peter Barry CAN

49th on Kilrodan Abbott

quoteThe footing was a little bit ‘holding,’ so I tried to just come home to give the others a chance to go for it, knowing that one of the teammates made it home.

I missed my turn a bit at the double corners early in the ride, and that was my mistake. It was a very forward-going track and you had to really attack it, but I think we managed it well. I’m very proud to have completed.

 

Hawley Bennett-Awad

Eliminated on Gin & Juice

quoteThe course rode way tougher than I thought it was going to. I’ve never ridden in footing like that, and Gin & Juice hasn’t either, and she really didn’t get comfortable in it. But, she’s sound and happy and tomorrow is another day.”

(Bennett-Awad completed the course but had refusals on course and after official review, was eliminated).

Tim Price NZL

Pulled up on Wesko

quoteHis tank just got empty. I carried on and rode in the kindest way possible for the good of the team but I got flagged two fences from home.

Joseph Murphy and Electric Cruise, in 53rd place for Ireland.

Joseph Murphy and Electric Cruise, in 53rd place for Ireland. © Jane Thompson

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