Blyth Tait re-evaluates his 2012 Olympic plans

  • New Zealand eventer Blyth Tait has told H&H that his comeback has not gone according to plan – and he has readjusted his goals to focus on the 2016 Olympics.

    Blyth, who returned to the sport last spring after seven years “in retirement”, originally had London 2012 in his sights, but now says Rio 2016 is a more “realistic goal”.

    The 50-year-old, a former Olympic and dual world champion, told H&H his season had been “frustrating”.

    “I haven’t given up hope, but my chances [of Olympic selection] are slim,” he said. “I feel I still have the knack across country, but I’ve spent too little time at competitions.”

    He hoped to campaign two horses at top level, but after both suffered setbacks, he has revised his strategy and plans to run “six to eight horses”.

    “I thought I’d have just two horses and a jolly time, but horses are horses,” he said.

    Sonate V chipped a bone in her patella in an accident at home, while his other advanced ride, Santos II, has had back problems.

    Both horses are expected to be fit for Badminton.

    “I now want to extend my string to get back to how I was at my peak. I need to run more horses at all levels- so I’m looking for owners,” he added.

    New Zealand chef d’equipe Erik Duvander said Blyth was a great asset to the team.

    “I’m thrilled he’s staying,” he said. “New Zealand has few riders, so one of his calibre is very exciting. His results might not show it yet, but he’s a great rider and once he has the horsepower again we’ll start to see that.”

    Blyth is based at Eddy Stibbe’s Lavender Hill Stud, near Naunton, Glos. He is currently scouting for eventing prospects in New Zealand until January.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (27 October, 2011)

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