As Tina Cook embarks on her fifth senior European Eventing Championships at this week’s Longines FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmühlen (28 August-1 September), we took some time to reflect with Tina about her double gold victory with Miners Frolic 10 years ago.
The European Championships in 2009 were held at Fontainebleau, in France, and came a year after Tina won double bronze at the 2008 Hong Kong Olympics on the gelding, known as Henry at home.
“Winning two medals on him at the Olympics was a miracle in itself,” says Tina. “We were called up to those Games as reserves and he was only 10 at the time. For him to jump two clear showjumping rounds under the lights was remarkable for such a young and inexperienced horse — it really was an example of what dreams are made of. So with that result under our belts, I was hopeful of us going well at the 2009 Europeans.
“As it was, the German team had a bit of a disaster in Fontainebleau, with the result not going their way. Henry joint-led the dressage with Oliver Townend and Flint Curtis sharing our score — Henry was a more relaxed character than the horse I have at these championships, Billy The Red.
“Henry was a great, fast cross-country horse and a good jumper and every medal I have won during my career has been on horses I have produced myself — it’s such a special feeling and to win any medal is amazing, but each medal I have won has had its own unique meaning and feeling depending on each horse’s character and the team around me at that moment in time.”
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Tina shares her advice to anyone who might find themselves in the incredible position of winning a medal or topping any podium.
“You really need to totally absorb every moment — standing on that podium, watching the Union Jack going up, with the national anthem playing is so special. My father was an emotional person and so am I and I have passed it onto my kids too — life goes on again as normal when you get home from those victories so it’s so important to make the most of those highs. So much hard work, disappointment and heartache goes into what we do, so when it goes well, that gives us the hunger to keep going and be the best.”
Check back for more updates from the Eventing European Championships in Luhmühlen all week, plus full report in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 5 September).