‘I’m pleased with my horse but disappointed in the mark’: Sam Watson starts Irish challenge in Tokyo

  • Sam Watson got Ireland out of the starting blocks in the Olympic eventing dressage phase at the Tokyo Games today (30 July).

    Riding Flamenco, an 11-year-old owned by Vahe Bogossian, Sam scored 34.2, which puts them into 11th place at this early stage of the competition.

    “I was actually pleased with him – I’m disappointed with the mark because it can be better, but I think I maybe we went too safe and conservative,” Sam said after his test. “We probably were not bold enough but his flat work has always been on a bit of an edge and sometimes I’ve had to manage him, relax him and get him more soft and supple and I think we had a really good foundation and basics there today, but we made a couple of mistakes, and you can’t miss a flying change in the Olympic Games, so that’s annoying and that’s on me. I was actually happy with the horse but disappointed with the mark and I can always do better.”

    Meanwhile, Jonelle Price got the New Zealand team off to a good start in the Olympic eventing dressage riding Grovine De Reve. The 13-year-old, owned by Therese Miller and who was formerly ridden by Jonelle’s fellow countryman, Dan Jocelyn, scored a creditable 30.7. This mark is enough to put them into eighth place at this point in the competition.

    “I’m happy as he’s isn’t the fanciest horse in this phase and really, for him to be scoring any better than the score we got, the test needs to be 120% of a clear round, and it wasn’t,” Jonelle explained afterwards. “It was blooming close to a clear round but every single tiny small detail has to be perfect and there was just one or two little things, which kept us a bit shy of perfect.

    “He got a little scrabbled in the first step of the rein-back and then I think one of the changes was a good change but he perhaps lost a little rhythm on the diagonal line – he doesn’t have a lot of high marks and so we need to be very, very consistent across the board. It only takes a couple of sixes to pull the score down.”

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