Chinese Taipei rider, Isheau Wong beat her trainer, New Zealand’s Samantha McIntosh, in a qualifying competition in Hagen in August last year, earning the right to compete at the Rio Games, and keeping New Zealand out of the Olympics this time.
Isheau was given the honour of being her country’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony.
We were therefore very keen to see how she performed. Riding Zadarijke V, a 12-year-old KWPN mare by San Remo, she she had a good start to the round, but it was first marred by the mare putting a foot in the water. It all went wrong at that last tricky line to the double and then last fence. They paddled over the first of the double, demolishing it in the process, then stopped at the second element. The fence had to be rebuilt, so the bell was rung to stop the clock. When the bell was rung again for Isheau to restart, she cantered around and jumped the first fence instead, deciding to retire at that stage.
Isheau was very disappointed afterwards. “It is my first time at the Olympics and I didn’t expect to go until the end but I did expect to at least finish a round.
“Honestly, she is a nice 1.45m horse and I brought her here because I had no other choice. She jumped her heart out.
“She is not very accustomed to warm conditions. In the warm-up ring she was already quite down, and wasn’t as fresh as yesterday. Today I came in and I felt that she jumped her heart out. A few oxers I had to push her and she had to stretch. I think at the last line she just ran out of fuel.”
“She is my only horse at the moment and I wish to continue my career. No matter what, I hoped that she would still keep going and I don’t want to break her heart, I don’t want to break her mentally.
“I have enjoyed my Olympic experience. It has been a unique experience and I hope I can make it again.”
Today’s result means the end of Isheau’s Olympic experience this time.
When Isheau beat Samantha McIntosh at Hagan for the Group G spot, she had mixed feelings about it. She had trained with Sam for a long time but that day she beat her on time in the jump-off.
Her horse, Zadarijke V, is bred more for dressage than jumping, by San Remo out of a Havidoff mare, Radarijke. Isheau has been riding her for about three years.