Eventing’s top female rider at Rio

Rebecca Howard of Canada is thrilled with her top-10 finish in the three-day event

during the Team Jumping Final for the Equestrian Eventing. Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Centro Olímpico de Hipismo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tuesday 9 August. Copyright photo: Libby Law Photography
Rebecca and Riddle Master during the eventing team jumping final (Image: Libby Law)

Rebecca Howard was not only the highest placed Canadian in the Olympic eventing at Rio, but she was also the highest placed woman in the whole competition, finishing in 10th place.

On the 15-year-old Riddle Master, Rebecca really had a brilliant event, posting one of her best results.

She hadn’t had the best of dressage tests to start her Rio Olympics, and was lying in 41st position after that phase. She did a great round across the country, however, pulling up 15th with just 12.4 time faults.

Rebecca had a clear jumping round in the teams competition, with Canada eventually finishing 10th. In the individual round she had just one rail down, finishing on a total of 65.8.

She described her result as fantastic. “It’s going to take a bit to absorb but it’s just amazing. It’s, yeah, it’s pretty cool. It’s something you work on for so long but you just kinda make it feel like a normal thing as much as you can. I’m certainly going to have to let it soak in that I am at the Games and I am in the top 10.”

“He’s a funny horse, he’s got a bit of a spook in him and I had a bit of a slip around that turn, and then coming into that triple he had a bit of a spook and I had to ride a bit more forward, and it kinda got a bit messy. But yeah, he jumped great. He’s just a class boy.”

When asked how she was going to celebrate her achievement, she hadn’t made any firm plan. “We’ll get together as a team and with team supporters and hopefully have some dinner but I haven’t thought that far ahead. I’ll have a glass of wine, I haven’t had one of those for a while!”

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master at the first horse inspection at Rio (Image: Jane Thompson)

Rebecca, who is 37, is good friends with Tim and Jonelle Price, having been based at their yard for some time. She has only recently moved out, and is now based just down the road at Lucinda Frederick’s yard.

On her Facebook page this morning Rebecca posted a lovely tribute to her Kiwi friends. “What a roller-coaster final…witness again to the sporting powers of that Micheal Jung and then such a heartbreak for my Kiwi family.”

This was Rebecca’s second Olympics; she rode at London but a slip and fall in the cross-country phase eliminated her from the individual event. In 2013 she was named Equine Canada’s Equestrian of the Year on the strength of top-10 finishes at some of the world’s most prestigious events, while Riddle Master was named Canadian-bred Horse of the Year.