Yesterday saw the first day of the equestrian jumping competition at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Centre. Team GB, who between them have accumulated over 20 Olympic Games, produced some fantastic jumping.
Nick Skelton was first in for Great Britain, with Beverley Widdowson’s London 2012 gold medal-winning ride, Big Star. They produced a wonderful round over the 1.60m course with a quick time, but were unlucky to knock the last fence, leaving them on four penalties. “I think if you’re going to have a jump down then today is the day to do it,” said Nick, “I’m pleased with him. If he jumps two clears in the team competition, which he can do, we’ll be very pleased.”
Ben Maher rode Jane Forbes Clark’s Tic Tac, who after some lovely work were unfortunate to have a pole down at fence nine to incur four penalties. “I thought my horse jumped well, he had plenty of height and used his body well. They said he hesitated on the TV, but I think I overcorrected him and it just took a bit of his jump away, but I got him home down the last line which has been causing some quite dramatic scenes today,” said Ben.
This being his fifth Olympic Games, Michael Whitaker with Cassionato, owned by Beverley Widdowson took the atmospheric arena in their stride, but after clearing fence ten Cassionato edged the top of the pole incurring four penalties. “He jumped unbelievably. The one fence he couldn’t touch he touched – if you watch it back, he gives it plenty of room, but just touches it at the end,” said Michael.
Last of the British team to go was John Whitaker aboard Team Harmony Management Co Ltd.’s Ornellaia. Shining from the start the pair produced some exceptional jumping to record a great clear round. “I was very happy with the round, from start to finish it was good,” said John.