Rodrigo Torres rode a fun-filled freestyle test to charm the spectators and bring the empty stands to life in the Tokyo Olympic dressage individual final. Riding his family’s home-bred Fogoso, Rodrigo majored on the stallion’s party pieces to produce a huge personal best score of 78.943%.
“This horse has a big talent to do many things in [collected] paces,” he said. “So I took advantage of these to make many difficult exercises.”
A smiling Rodrigo performed large parts of his test one-handed. His supporters were clapping every stride as he sauntered down the centre-line in one-time tempi changes, one arm hanging loose by his side. He even found time to pat the stallion’s neck mid-test.
Fogoso, which means full of power, excels in piaffe, passage and the pirouettes. The cresty Lusitano is not built for athletic extensions, but he also showed expressive flying changes on a circle to bump up the difficulty level.
“Normally he is powerful, but he is on fire in this kind of environment because he looks at the flowers,” said Rodrigo, 44. “That makes him look even more powerful and it gives me a super feeling.”
Dynamic music fits stallion’s rhythm in Tokyo
Rodrigo selected the music, which featured Pink Floyd, with the help of his wife.
“We chose the music because it has a lot of dynamic rhythm,” he said. “Pink Floyd is a band for my age.”
Ever the showman, Rodrigo completed his test to loud applause, flinging his arms in the air at the end. He finished 16th of the 18 contenders who qualified for the final, and he relished every minute.
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