Tales from Tokyo: ‘I wanted to give my horse away when he was four’

  • For Mexican rider Patricio Pasquel, his round in the Olympic showjumping team qualifier was his only performance of the Tokyo Games – he didn’t compete in the individual competition, and Mexico did not finish as one of the top 10 nations that progressed to the final. But Patricio described his horse’s efforts in the Tokyo arena as super – they just had one pole down, at fence 10.

    “I just tapped it, but I’m happy with that as it was the first day he jumped. We didn’t jump the individual – the chef d’equipe decided to keep him fresh for the team. Of course I was not happy with that decision,” said Patricio. “But that was a pretty tough course to jump in there under the lights and he jumped well. He was super and jumped so easily. I was able to ride very naturally and calmly.”

    Just being here with Babel, at their first Olympic Games following two Pan-Am Games appearances and the World Equestrian Games in 2018, is more than Patricio imagined he would achieve when the chestnut gelding, by Billy Du Lys, was a youngster.

    “We bred the horse so he has been with us the whole time. We have a breeding farm in Mexico and bred between three and five jumping horses a year. A bunch have jumped grand prix though Babel is the best. But I wanted to give him away when he was four; he was horrible and also wouldn’t jump.”

    But luckily Patricio stuck with the horse, and as the gelding started to find his way with jumping and accrue more success as he grew older and moved up the levels, he became thankful that he held on to him. That said, Patricio added that still the horse doesn’t immediately appear to be a superstar.

    “He’s mouthy and he’s crooked, but what a jumper – if you didn’t want to jump you still might give him away,” he laughed. “He is also sound as hell – what a horse.”

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