Eighteen months ago, Greece’s sole combination at the European Showjumping Championships were jumping one-star classes — today they sit in the top 10 in the individual medal standings.
Ioli Mytilineou and the 10-year-old Levis De Muze have yet to touch a fence in the competition, their senior championship debut; their superb clear today meant they go into tomorrow’s class in ninth place, ahead of a host of heavyweights, and just 2.33 penalties behind leader Martin Fuchs.
“I’m honestly, over the moon,” Ioli told H&H. “I bought him as a seven-year-old so we’ve gradually worked our way up, and every step he goes up is also my step up – we’ve just grown as a team.”
Ioli said she “took it very slowly” to start, adding: “This time last year, the biggest we’d done was a two-star grand prix.
“So we took it very slowly, until he was nine, then when we felt he had the basics, and he’s a phenomenal horse, we could push a bit more,” she added. “So I went to Florida earlier this year, and jumped his first three-star and four-stand grands prix, and he was clear every time.”
Ioli’s clear yesterday was not the fastest; she said she had to “push myself out of my comfort zone” to up the tempo in the speed class, finishing in 22nd place.
“I think I put in a good enough round to set me up, so I’m happy,” she said.
Ioli said Elia Construction SA’s stallion is “lovely to ride”, in a latex-coated snaffle on the flat, and the addition of full cheeks for a touch of extra steering power in the ring.
“He’s so well balanced and super adjustable,” she added. “It was a short four from the wall to the next vertical and I got the wall exactly how I wanted and held, and he did five strides. He’s so adjustable, he just pulled back up.
“He’s one of a kind, he’s incredible.”
Ioli added that she has a huge amount of support from her home country, adding: “It’s nice to be able to give something back to a country that has always supported me, and I grew up there.”
The top 25 riders after tomorrow qualify for Sunday’s individual European Showjumping Championships medal decider.
“So maybe tomorrow I’ll be tough enough, as there are a lot of good riders here,” she said. “But as I was walking up for this round, I was actually chatting away to the horse, telling him that even yesterday, him jumping clear was enough. It’s more than I could have imagined.
“It’s all fun and games coming saying ‘Oh, I’d like to jump clear’, but you know what? It actually happened.”
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