The Lusitano stallion Fenix De Tineo ridden by Maria Caetano was a real head-turner, producing a sparkling test on the first day of grand prix dressage at the Tokyo Olympics (24 July).
The pair are making their Olympic dressage debut as part of the Portuguese team, which is currently lying fifth after day one, and were rewarded with a score of 70.31% to sit fourth in group B.
“He does have a lot of character,” said Maria, adding the 11-year-old (Rubi x Oheide), owned by Yeguada Finca Tineo, LDA, does like to remind everyone he is a stallion.
“He’s been with me since he was a young horse, four years old. So he’s almost like a pet, I know him very very well!
“It was an honour that he’s come here and because I have been qualified with my other horse Coroado, and he got injured, right at the end of 2020. So I had to run with him to qualify.”
Fenix De Tineo’s place at Tokyo has kept the Games in the family, as he shares the same sire with Coroado and is out of a similar mare. Maria considers them “brothers”.
Maria explained how the little stallion rose to the late challenge of qualifying for Tokyo with gusto.
“We started to really take [aiming him for Tokyo] seriously in February,” she said. “We went to Doha Qatar, and he really got in and said, ‘no I’m in the five-star competition now – I will defend my brother, and I will make it!’
“They have really different strong points. Coroado was very clear and good in all the exercises and spectacular in the passage.
“This one [Fenix De Tineo] is really really good in passage and piaffe, but then he has lower points in the canter. But I think with one or two more years of experience, he will get to the Coroado’s level.”
Maria, 34, added the hot and humid conditions were an additional challenge, but she was happy with how the horse went.
“He did a very correct test, we didn’t lose points through mistakes, so we could maintain the average we have been doing in qualifications,” she said.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.