The third day of equestrian competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games saw sixty-five combinations come forward to contest the cross-country phase of the Eventing competition, across the undulating terrain of the Olympic Equestrian Centre course in Deodoro.
First out for Team GB was Olympic debutant, Gemma Tattersall. Taking on the ‘pathfinder’ role for the team, Gemma and Quicklook V (owned by The Pebbles Syndicate) started well, but a spook at fence four saw a refusal follow. With some good riding during the round, the duo were unfortunate to incur a second refusal and see 40 penalties added to their dressage score along with a further 49.6 time faults, giving them a final score over the two phases of 136.80 penalty points.
Gemma commented afterwards; “Unfortunately today, for whatever reason, she went very ‘green’. She jumped fence three absolutely enormously and I think that frightened her a bit. She certainly would never want to do anything wrong, but I think she had a bit of a fright.”
Next on course for the British team was overnight leader William Fox-Pitt. Aboard the eleven-year-old Chilli Morning (owned by Christopher Stone), the combination flew round the course but were unlucky to have a refusal at the second element of fence twenty, which saw them accrue 20 penalty points.
Finishing just 26 seconds over the time allowed, time faults were added and a total score for the combination was confirmed as 67.40 penalties. Commenting William said; “I had a very good run, it’s just annoying that I went past that third element. It was really unfortunate and my fault entirely. I went too quickly for him and there was no way I could turn so he didn’t do anything wrong. He is a lovely horse and to be riding him around the course is a luxury so I’m sad I have wasted it.”
After an impressive dressage test yesterday, Pippa Funnell with the late Carol Toliver’s Billy The Biz were the third combination for Great Britain out on course this afternoon. Flying round the course, Pippa produced some great riding, but also incurred an unlucky run-out towards the end of the course.
“I'm very proud of him,” commented Pippa, “when I walked that last fence I thought it was really unlucky at that stage of the course; I know other great horses have done it, but when you see a lot of horses struggling, I was a little worried because he’s so special but I'm delighted with him today. I’m just gutted for Yogi, the team and all the connections.”
The final British combination of Kitty King and Ceylor L A N (owned by Diana Bown, Jacqueline Owen and Samantha Wilson) had to wait to the end of the day to head out on course. An unfortunate run-out at fence 11 saw 20 penalty points awarded to the duo, which added to their time faults saw them finish on a score of 53.60 penalties, and a total score of 100.40.
Kitty spoke afterwards saying; “There are a lot of positives to take out of it, and he still did a great job. He jumped really well in the warm-up and felt fantastic and he felt brilliant over the first few [fences]; as soon as he jumped the first two I thought we're going to have a good ride and we did."
The results from today see Great Britain lying in eighth place in the team standings at the end of the second day of competition; Australia lead the team competition, with New Zealand second and France in third, with all to play for heading into tomorrow’s final day.
Individual placings for Team GB athletes after the cross-country phase; William Fox-Pitt (22), Pippa Funnell (28), Kitty King (34) and Gemma Tattersall (44).
Tuesday, 9 August sees the final phase of the eventing competition as competitors take to the main stadium for the conclusive showjumping phase. Following tomorrow morning’s horse inspection, times for the showjumping will be released.