New European showjumping champion Andre Thieme joked that he is as much in love with his superstar chestnut mare DSP Chakaria as he is his wife — and she accepts that.
Having secured his individual title two days after helping the German team win silver at the European Showjumping Championships, Andre was singing the praises of Pferdemanagement and Marketing GmbH’s 11-year-old.
“When I got on her this morning to do some flatwork, she felt extra fresh, and I thought, ‘Oh good’,” Andre said. “That was a good sign, and a good feeling.
“The first round today, it didn’t feel easy but it felt easy enough for her that I knew another round was possible. When I saw I could even have a rail [and still win], I felt pretty confident.
“The way she jumped the first three fences, it felt extra good, and I thought ‘Oh, man!’ but then I had the combination, and boom. Then there was a long way to go.”
Andre paid tribute to his mare, who stayed calm to leave the rest of the jumps up.
He and DSP Chakaria had not had the best Olympics last month; they clocked up eight faults in the team final, but Andre said Tokyo had come slightly too early.
“But she was a different horse here,” he said. “She learned from Tokyo, and so did I, and I’m very glad it’s come out this way.”
Asked whether the mare was a “family horse”, Andre laughed and said she is half-owned by a friend of his father’s.
“And I’m just as much in love with her as I am my wife,” he said. “And she accepts that.”
There was another revelation when Andre shared a conversation he had had with Martin Fuchs after the team final.
“I was maybe the only rider who was a tiny bit disappointed with the silver, because it was so close,” he said. “A day later I was happy too, but then Martin came round the corner and said: ‘You didn’t really think you could beat us, did you?! So I’m very happy it turned out this way.”
And Martin, who had ceremoniously pulled out Andre Thieme’s chair for him in the press conference, joked: “Andre was better than me today — but I hope one day I’ll be better than him again.”
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