We watched in awe at the recent Olympics at the range of amazing human athletes but also at the amazing partnerships between horse and rider in the equestrian games and the thrill of seeing combinations which we’ve been lucky enough to know and meet on the world stage was overwhelming.
Knowing all the hard work put in behind the scenes made watching both horse and rider in action even more special as both horse and rider have to be in peak condition and have built a strong bond, something which doesn’t happen overnight. What you see in a 5 minute dressage test has taken literally years of training to present the gymnastic and effortless performance you watched on the TV from Rio.
The event riders tackling the cross-country course showcased their relationship built on trust and respect between horse and rider and the show-jumpers proved their worth tackling combinations with ease and grace.
As any professional rider will tell you, the road to Rio is always rocky. Horses go lame, horses get injured and some horses just can’t stand the competitive pressure. Getting a horse to this level is fraught with worry along the way and when you find the ‘one’ at the right time in your career, you want to hang onto that Olympic dream and your horse is very much essential to that vision!
With this in mind, we were truly gutted for Jock Paget whose steed Clifton Lush got all the way to Rio, only to cut his lip on the stable door requiring stitches and automatically withdrawn from the team. Fortunately he’s recovered well but the disappointment must have been enormous for Jock and the whole team, grooms etc.
This was the fate for quite a few of the horses competing and just went to prove how fragile these big and powerful animals really are!