Nicole Uphoff recalls her ride at the Barcelona Olympics
I always think of my relationship with ‘Remmi’ as a marriage. He was an incredibly difficult partner and was famous for being unpredictable and spooking during tests. He often frustrated me. He knew me inside out and would notice straight away if I wasn’t quite on form. That was when he would play up.
He used to bite me, but was always the perfect gentleman when anybody else wanted to stroke him. I used to get so annoyed with him, but loved him like crazy because he gave me so much in our work, too. Everything I can do now, I learned from him.
Remmi loved an audience and only made an effort when he knew it was important. At home he looked quite ordinary, but in a competition, he gave it his all. I could just keep him ticking over and knew he would produce the goods when it mattered.
To this day, I don’t remember anything about my first Olympics in Seoul, except that Remmi’s walk was bad. The rest is all a haze. I was only 21, a long way from home, without my parents and under a lot of pressure.
Barcelona was completely different. I remember everything so clearly, the whole experience and atmosphere. I slept for 30min before each test, because otherwise I become too nervous. I have always done that since; I can sleep anywhere, anytime. I just get up and get on my horse, ready to warm-up.
In Barcelona, Remmi practically performed the final test, the grand prix special, on his own- I hardly did anything – it was incredible. He was such a clever horse; he knew the test off by heart and gave it his all. That was the most amazing moment of my career.
Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound (13 February) where Sally Waldron talks about her ‘drive of a lifetime’ at the Lowther Horse Driving Trials in 1975.
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