What did the riders say about WEG XC?

Ingrid Klimke, SAP Hale Bob OLD (Image: Libby Law)

Here’s the thoughts of some of the riders after their cross-country ride yesterday. 

Ingrid Klimke, SAP Hale Bob OLD, Germany; Clear and in the time, 23.3pen, 1st place

“He was really fast in the beginning, he really wanted to run. This was quite as fast as we should be going, and then at fence 5, it was quite good that he had a little rattle, so he had to know he had to watch out for more complicated things than just canter here, jump, go as fast as you can. Everything went really the way I wanted, he came up hill, deep breath and he came to the finish like, OK, some more? I was very pleased and very proud.

I was really concerned about the sprinklers. Luckily I was at the end. So I had my whip on the left hand side but he was still like this [makes a shying gesture]. I made sure my friend, left leg, left whip, because he did it once in Luhmuhlen few years ago, there was a water sprinkler in front of a fence in the water and he stopped there so I knew he could be a bit funny with sprinklers in the water.

Was the course strong enough for a championship? Yes, see what happened all day. Strong riders, good riders, good horses…  It was tricky, not tricky but built so that it could have trouble at different fences.  Maybe 14 the corners was tough but also at other fences there were run outs here and there. You had to be really focused, and everything came quite quickly, ABCDEFG at the water, you had to think where’s the next turn. There were a lot of drop fences and then the hill, you had to have fit horse.

Thoughts on the extra day before show jumping? Our horses will like it, to have another day of vacation and wait what’s coming, because nobody knows here with the weather.  Perhaps we can do it tomorrow if it is not raining, or if they really can’t. Maybe be we can change it to tomorrow morning and then it is finished, maybe that would be better or jump indoors or whatever, that is another option in the big indoor arena. And then it’s finished?

Ros Canter and Allstar B (Image: Libby Law)

Ros Canter, Allstar B, Clear jumping, 24.6, second place

The first two minutes going so fast was out of my comfort zone as I’m Captain Slow, or I can be, so fortunately I made myself keep galloping at the first, to set a really good tone. It was really intense from that moment on really. After two minutes they come at you thick and fast, and you find yourself 20 secs down on the clock without even thinking you could have gone any quicker. I just had to rely on fact my horse was fit and they galloped so well at the end, that we all managed to make it home. The only place the ground felt a bit soft was on landing after last corner, everywhere else it felt fantastic. Being the team anchor involved quite a lot of waiting around, and it quite hard to get into the zone.

Thibaut Valette, Qing du Briotene HN, France, Clear jumping, 1.2 time, total 26.8, 4thplace

I am quite happy today because it was quite easy to ride. From beginning of round he was very, very good, over jumps he was very straight and quite easy to ride. I felt him quite tired on hill, it was quite difficult for the horses to handle this ground but he is very nice this horse. He finished quite good, I am really happy. I am never confident. For me it’s more easier to be a little anxious because I am very concentrated on dressage test, for the xc, for the jumping, I have to be a little anxious to be quite good.  If I am too relaxed I am not very good, I am like that.

Lt Col Thibaut Vallette and Qing du Briot, who are now fourth individually for France (FEI)

Astier Nicolas, Vinci de la Vigne, France, Clear jumping, under time (exactly on optimum time), total 27.2, 5thplace

It was very good. The weather, a great breeze very appreciated, and ground perfect, not deep or hard. It was all down to horses and their training and riding. I am thrilled that this youngster did a great job and when he got tired in the end he found the energy in his guts to fight with me and he was great. He was tired after the last hill, he was trying but his body wasn’t going any more. At the water I was thinking I didn’t expect him to be silly at 2nd water where horses stopping and staring at fountain, I saw few horses napping badly, so that made us scratch our heads. He was good in first part of course, so I went straight and he went well. It was the first time he have done such a difficult course, he did Bokelo as an 8yo last year and he behaved really well there but this is harder, more hilly, a few questions were left unanswered but he answered them all today

He is very exciting. I don’t know what is next, it is a bit early. His owners have been very good, refused nice offers on him last winter, he might be for sale this winter, we will see, he’s lovely to ride.

Astier Nicholas is in fifth place, riding as an individual for France (FEI)

Sam Watson, Horseware Ardah Highlight, clear jumping, 35.5 and 25thplace.

It was a cracking round, but one last minute adjustment was to not do the waterfall in the main water, he’s a little spooky. I always said from word go, I liked the long route so much that I said if anyone looks at that, let me know because I will take the longer route. From the middle part of the course, I allowed him through to the squirrels, I took the pressure off a little bit. I probably lost 10 or 15 seconds, but intentionally as I knew he was fit enough to make it up, I just didn’t want him fried in the middle, I wanted him to enjoy it. He did that. He was fantastic, we trained for this, we had him fit for it, I do cross country every week with him, so that he can do these questions, so today was just a day at the office for him.

Sam Watson (Ireland) and Horseware Ardagh Highlight over the last

Piggy French, Quarrycrest Echo, Clear jumping, 27.8 score, 8thplace

It was hard work actually to be honest, it rode a bit bigger than I thought it walked. It’s just riding with such different pressure on you being in a team, getting the job done rather than just you and your horse.

So proud of my horse, I kept losing time in the middle, more than I thought I was going to lose, don’t know if it was travelling through water or a couple of the slightly longer routes that I took, it was twisty and turny and harder work on the flat than I predicted. He got to the bottom of the hill and I was much more further down than I’d have liked and he just put his head up and got really gritty, and he just tried to the finish. He made up the time, I am so proud of him. He’s not a thoroughbred horse, he just dug deep, he hasn’t got loads of experience of doing longer competitions.

He has been amazing this year, and I am glad to have done it today, there are probably horses with more experience than mine which could have got the team slot, but I also think that people see what’s in there so I am very grateful to have been able to give it a go.

Gemma Tattersall, Arctic Soul, Clear jumping, 32.4, 18thplace

For him having jumped around seven four-stars, it was a pretty straight forward track, but I had team orders to go long at the second water, as we knew he could make up time. He was 15 seconds down at the bottom of hill and was on time at the top so it shows what amazing horse and amazing engine he has got. I think it’s all very jumpable and rideable, shame it’s not more difficult!

Tom McEwan, Toledo de Kerser, clear jumping, 28.4, in 10thplace.

I knew I would probably be down until midway through course. He picked up all the way up the hill. Hills is what we do in training, so we rushed home, and while we did have to do little bit of work to make sure we did time I couldn’t have asked any more. The corners came up a lot quicker than expected. We had our game plan, and so far we are all delivering.

Tina Cook, Billy the Red, clear jumping, 2.4 time penalties, 31.5, in 14thposition.

I was really, really pleased, but naturally a little frustrated to be 2 seconds over. It could be very costly on show jumping day but I made the decision after watching some of the early ones to go. My horse is really spooky, so I knew that was going to cost me 5 or 6 secs and it did. He was very eager to get on with it, it was a lot tougher than we first thought. The first walk a lot of riders were a little bit dismissive but the more times we walked it the more problems we could see and more questions we could see asked of horses. The ground was undulating, it was a proper championship course.

Dan Jocelyn at the corner combination (Libby Law)

Cathal Daniels, Rioghan Rua, Clear jumping, 3.6 time, 37.6, in 28thposition

The hill did take its toll, and as she has run a bit this year, she’s struggled a bit in the dressage so we eased off in gallop work. It showed but she kept trying, she jumped super. I’m delighted, as by the looks of it been causing a bit of trouble. She’s 11 and this is her first senior championship.

I hope we can make a difference this week. I hope we can be in good position for a medal, and I don’t know what colour medal but I hope it is the right colour.

Chris Burton, Cooley Lands, 20 jump faults, no time faults, 48.6, 49thplace

How did I make the time with a stop? I don’t know if I should say but they missed a trick, they should have stopped the course halfway up the hill or at the bottom of the hill, as most people who are going clear were down [on time] there. We would have had a more exciting day and not seen such tired horses, if the sport is going to improve [the course] has to be shortened.

Emma McNabb, Fernhill Tabasco, 6.8 time, 33.8 in 20thplace

He was so good! I had a couple little rough rides but he is so good, he is amazingly genuine, he really just wants to do the job. At the second water we were going to go the direct way but a few too many having a look at that cascade and so we chose the long way there. It wasn’t ridiculously slow and it was quite smooth. Then the grey corners were my next worry a little bit but actually once you got the right ride in it was all set up it was great. It was really good after that, I felt he had enough fuel left, but he felt quite tired up the hill so I took it easy on way home. I am over the moon.

Andrew Hoy, Cassily de Lassos, clear jumping and time, 29.8, 11thplace

I think he is the best horse ever, I have sat on some very good horses in my life, so it is a big call for me to say that, as I started my career as a 19-year-old in Kentucky 40 years ago. For him to finish six seconds inside the time, amazing. He only touched one fence, a toe on the apple fence, he was just running and jumping and just enjoying it. Mark Phillips designs really well if you ride with good speedy, good rhythm and balance, and good take off spots you will have a fantastic round.

I had really good ride to the water with cascades, I didn’t jmp the oxer at the top of the hill so quickly, I just ran down hill and gave him time to look and see what he had to do then once he got into the water, I just kept hold of him, kept my leg on. It walked five strides but I got across there in four.

Andrew Hoy the next day at the trot up – still happy!

Julia Krajewski, Chipmunk FRH, leader after dressage, added 28.4 penalties after cross country to be in 47th place.

What went wrong? “I think I have to see it to be sure what went wrong. My horse has a really big gallop and wanted to go forward. I thought I had the first distance but he pushed a bit too much for the second corner, and we ended up just too close to the fence. He couldn’t have jumped it from where he was, he would have fallen, so full credit to him but it was absolutely not an impossible question, just a miscommunication which we don’t have very often, but sometimes it happens. Otherwise I am very proud of him because he finished well and he wanted to do everything right. It is so annoying but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

On having to finish for the team: “It’s hard on them to have to push for the time, instead of raising your hand or cantering home, you have to fight again, ride away. It’s not nice but you have to do it.

Philip Dutton, Z. USA. Clear jumping, 6.4 time, total 34, 21st place

He felt very, very good. Obvious priority was for me to jump clear round and not take too many risks but go as fast as I could. There were a couple parts where I was making sure things were right then had to try and catch up at the end. I didn’t have a lot of horse left but made up some ground. He did exactly what I asked him to do. The footing was good, it hasn’t changed at all. There was a little bit of wind, a little bit of moisture so it was horse friendly.

Thoughts on having the rest day: “That’s very odd, that’s never happened before, so not sure what we do! We will regroup tonight and come up with a plan for tomorrow.

Boyd Martin, Tsetserleg, USA. 20 jumping faults, 11.6 time, total 58.7, 54th place

He was going almost too well, I was feeling bullet proof to be honest. I completely rode that jump wrong. I have practised that sort of fence a thousand times but got in there completely wrong, and tried to add a stride at the end and got underneath it. It’s the one jump I wasn’t worried about. It was a crushing moment, because that destroys the team momentum. I just came up short today. it’s a great course. It’s got everything; it’s technical, galloping, twisty, turns, lots of water.

Alex Hua Tian, Ballytiglea Vivendi, China: Clear jumping, 9.6 time penalties, total 52, 51st place

He has only just qualified so for him to gallop around 30 seconds over time, I was delighted. He was a little bit inexperienced at the beginning, I had to hold his hand a little bit, which I’ve never had to do. He was a bit tired at the end which he’s never been before, but he kept fighting, so I’m really proud of him.

Thoughts on the course? “It’s thorough enough, there’s a lot to jump out there, but it jumped as I expected, nothing out there to trap anybody. My horse was so honest and straight in his lines, he’s such a warrior. I can trust him to go out there and do the job. I was last after the dressage, so hopefully I have picked up a few places!

Selena O’Hanlon, Foxwood High, Canada. Clear jumping, 8 time, total 38.7, 29th place

He felt fantastic! I took a few risks, just at single galloping fences I find the hardest, because I only have Foxwood High at this level, so I don’t get to practise that often. Getting your eye in and doing that cold turkey is really hard. I have been working pretty hard since Fairhill, and it worked today for the most part. There were a few places I did not see [a distance] and had to wait and that would have I’m sure cost me time. Also being in a team situation you gotta get the team through so it was up to me to take some of the long routes which I would not normally take with this horse, but I had to get team home. He felt amazing, everything time I take him out he feels better. Today I took him out full tilt.

Daniela Moguel, Cecelia, Mexico. Clear jumping, 8.8 time, total 45.9, 42nd place

OMG I got off the course and they asked me what I wanted to say, and all I could say was ‘Sweet Baby Jesus.’ It was amazing. Did it ride how I thought? No, it ride harder. It walked easier than what it rides, usually the other way around. We walked it and thought, not that hard, but it was.

Sir Mark and McClaren into the second water (Libby Law)
Blyth Tait and Dassett Courage (Libby Law)
Classic Moet, a supreme athlete (Libby Law)
Jonelle and Classic Moet burst from the start box (Libby Law)
Dan Jocelyn at the corner combination (Libby Law)