Tales from Tokyo: ‘I’ve had life-changing offers for my horse – but I’m too much in love to sell her’

  • Germany are one of just three teams who have progressed to this evening’s (7 August) Olympic showjumping final without jumping faults. The fastest of their rounds came courtesy of Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria – an 11-year-old chestnut mare by Chap x Askari, who shares bloodlines with the 2018 world champion mare DSP Alice.

    Chakaria belongs to Andre’s family, and they first spotted her at a local show as an eight-year-old.

    “I was so in love from that first day – I saw right away what that horse was,” he recalls. “For once in my life I was quicker than other people. I didn’t sleep and managed to buy her before everybody else. Since that day on, we felt something special coming.”

    Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria stepped up to five-star level in 2019, and the Tokyo Olympics is their first championship – although they arrived off the back of a team Nations Cup win in Poland in June.

    Although they were one of just 14 combinations to leave all the fences up in the team qualifier, Andre says he hopes for a “looser, smoother” round in the final, explaining that Chakaria was very “impressed” by the atmospheric Tokyo stadium and the bright, bold fences of Santiago Varela’s tough track.

    “She’s quite young and quite green; for this venue with those lights and those jumps, it is maybe a touch early,” he explained. “But she will have learned something here, and then anywhere else in the world she will be competitive.

    “I think she is a superstar, and it’s not only me thinking that – a lot of people want to buy that horse from me. So far, we were able to say no. It’s hard because it’s life-changing money, and this is a business, but I am just too much in love with my horse,” Andre said.

    “In the stables she is very calm and a little shy. She likes to just relax in a corner. But as soon as you put a saddle on, and especially when you start jumping, she’s a rocket. She’s on fire and she wants to eat the jumps. Here she has been a little too impressed to be forward and has jumped a little bit high, and has been a bit over-careful, but she still went clear. She’s a fighter and she has a big, big heart.

    “At home we call her Chaka, but my son calls her Chakalaka. And when it goes really well he calls her Boom Chakalaka!”

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