Tales from Tokyo: ‘This is my home town – but I wanted Japanese fans to be able to watch’

  • The Olympics has come home for Japanese dressage rider Hiroyuki Kitahara, who is from Tokyo.

    “I’m so lucky to ride here because this is my home town – I grew up here,” he said after completing his grand prix test yesterday.

    “Of course I wanted to have an audience and for many Japanese dressage fans to watch this amazing show in real life. I’m so sad. But that’s corona.”

    Hiroyuki believes Japanese dressage is “on the first step here” and the home Games will act as an accelerator for the nation to improve for the future.

    The 49-year-old rider moved to Germany three years ago to be based with his trainer, Finnish rider Henri Ruoste, who is also competing here at the Games. Henri rode Hiroyuki’s Olympic mount Huracan 10 before the Japanese rider.

    “Henri is a super good rider and trainer – I trust him,“ said Hiroyuki.

    The rider will return to Germany after the Games but then plans to bring his horse Huracan 10 back to Tokyo in the autumn, with a view to returning to Europe to prepare if he has a chance to ride in championships in the future.

    Hiroyuki Kitahara has been riding Huracan 10, a 13-year-old by Blue Hors Hotline out of a Don Schufro mare, for four years. He belongs to the Japan Racing Association.

    The pair scored 66.304% for their test yesterday.

    “My horse is very sensitive, and sometimes scared, but he was very concentrated and focused on the test,” said Hiroyuki. “I made some mistakes, but I’m really happy with him.”

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