“I am looking forward to a gold medal” and other quotes from Round 1

13 clear rounds in the first round, and joining them in the final will be those two on one faults and those on four faults. What did some of the riders say about the first course?

Sheikh Ali Al Thani from Qatar rode a good clear round on First Devision
Sheikh Ali Al Thani from Qatar rode a good clear round on First Devision

Sheikh Ali AL THANI (Qatar)

“So far so good. I am so happy that I got my horse [First Devision] in that good shape today. Because it is long days of jumping. All of the horses have suffered a lot. But we keep it together and now I just have to focus for the second round. I am looking forward to getting a gold medal. In the end, it is show jumping – something we do almost every weekend. The only thing here is that you really have to be more patient because you carry your faults with you forward, every day.

Daniel DEUSSER (Germany) 

“It started a bit wobbly. I underestimated the first oxer and he [First Class] jumped the next two fences too high. But then it was back to normal, even though the course was not ideal for him with the treble coming after only a very short distance and the last line being so tight. That cost power and stamina. I hope he can stay on for one more round. He is not the most athletic of my horses. But he understands the job and he does not want to touch the fences. That is what makes a good jumper.”

Rene TEBBEL (Ukraine)

“The distances were quite tight for Zipper who is quite a big horse, especially in the last line. I also briefly lost my stirrup before coming to the water. That might have been the second I was over. It did not feel like I was too slow. And if one has got so far it is quite disappointing. Yes, I am a bit angry. I wanted more. To me the true Olympic champion is the one who manages all five rounds with the least mistakes.”

Jeroen Dubbledam on Zenith, a very polished round
Jeroen Dubbledam on Zenith, a very polished round

Jeroen DUBBELDAM (Netherlands)

“I was really happy with the way he [Zenith] felt, the way he was jumping and the result he gave me. Even though we were not in the [team] medals the other day, that does not mean that our team falls apart. We have a great team and we all support each other. And, when the time comes, we will go on as individuals in the ring. But with the support of the team. That is maximum level. If you look at the start list I have never seen so strong a field. Some make it look simple but it is not.”

Eric LAMAZE (Canada) 

“That was the best round so far. She [Fine Lady 5] is in great form, just so much ‘on’. She jumped very powerful and carefully.  There is a lot of jumping still to do. I hope we can keep the feeling. I did not ride her yesterday. There was only the jog (for the second horse inspection.) I gave her all day without seeing me – apart from the jogging. That might have done the trick.”

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Germany)

Meredith demolished the first fence completely. She went on to jump the next fence and then retired. “So disappointing. The horse [Fibonacci] was in great form. Thankfully he is OK, I retired for fear that something was wrong. He has come out of it totally fine.”

Harrie Smolders from The Netherlands - had the first down
Harrie Smolders from The Netherlands – had the first down

Harrie Smolder (Netherlands)

Harrie’s lovely horse Emerald, had the first fence down. “Yes, the first fence also counts. It was a real shame. I especially wanted to start from the left to get more swing. He barely touched it. He was amazing after that. We will see what we can still do.”

Matias Albarracin, Argentinia 

This has been the most amazing week in my career. He [Ramiro Quintana] jumped so high I could not make the seven strides. I had to fight. When you are clear you fight more.”

The cute Clooney with Martin Fuchs
The cute Clooney with Martin Fuchs

Martin FUCHS (Switzerland) 

“He [Clooney] jumped better and better every day. Today was his best round ever. I hope we take this feeling with us. I gave him a lot of work. I rode him twice yesterday and was out again once this morning. With him it is more about keeping him quiet. In his head he is nervous but he has so much power and energy. I need to control this. The heat comes as an advantage for us. That keeps him more quiet.”