Tales from Tokyo: ‘He deserved another chance to perform at the Olympics before he retires’

  • Marcio Appel Cheuiche’s showjumping round in the team final of the Olympic eventing marked both a first and a last. This was his first trip into the Tokyo Olympics stadium, having been substituted into the Brazilian team following the cross-country, but it was his horse, the 19-year-old Iberon Jmen’s last competitive appearance.

    “I’m so happy to be here, in the Olympics – the second Olympics for me and the horse. This is the last event for my horse; for sure I would like to have completed everything, but to be here is magic,” said Marcio, who arrived in Tokyo as the Brazilian alternate rider.

    He had just the one fence down in the showjumping, to help Brazil to a 12th place team finish, and was visibly emotional as he finished his round, dropping his reins and clapping Iberon Jmen’s neck as they left the arena together for the final time.

    Neither of them appeared fazed by the huge Tokyo stadium despite not having performed in it yet, and Iberon Jmen looked fresh and keen.

    “He loves competing. He couldn’t understand why he did the trot-up, went to Sea Forest [the location of the Tokyo cross-country], went on the lorry, and didn’t compete. But now it was his time.”

    Marcio and the Indoctro x Landino gelding competed together at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they finished seventh as a team, as well as the World Equestrian Games in 2018.

    “He still feels strong and he loves to do it. I am here for him, enjoying our journey,” said Marcio. “For me it was really important to have a good round, for him. At the last Olympics I didn’t do the best showjumping round, and it was my fault. He deserved another chance here at the Olympics.”

    Although the gelding will retire from competition, the plan is that he will still be ridden and go hacking.

    “He can’t stop – when he is on vacation he gets bored. We will find someone to hack him every day – he needs to be useful to someone, he loves it.”

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