The top 10 nations in Friday’s Olympic team showjumping qualifier at the Tokyo Games made it through to Saturday’s final.
Here’s how they did it:
Pathfinder Henrik von Eckermann jumped clear on King Edward, as did his team-mates Malin Baryard-Johnsson (Indiana) and Peder Fredricson (All In).
Henrik said: “He’s an amazing horse, an unbelievable animal. I don’t need to jump much outside on him, I only lunged him this morning and then I jumped maybe seven jumps on him – if you take that over several days, I save a lot of energy and keep him fresh. It’s just being relaxed, he is focused and it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“He is super fit, he’s a strong horse; this heat is good for him because he’s a little bit tense sometimes because he’s a very electric horse, and this heat is just taking that little edge off – but I don’t need to ride him settled, I can leave him, because the heat will make him a little bit settled.”
=2. Belgium – qualified on four faults
Gregory Wathelet was Belgium’s anchorman and finished with just two time-faults on Nevados S.
He said: “It was so good that I could ride with a bit less pressure today because we all know that tomorrow will be different, the course will be bigger, like the individual final two days ago. So we’ll need the horses to be fresh, with power. We feel confident – we have a good team, we have good riders, but for sure we have to see to so many details and it’s another class, another start, another level, and it’s going to be the 10 best teams there.”
Gregory’s team-mates Pieter Devos (Claire Z) and Jerome Guery (Quel Homme De Hus) both jumped clear with just one time-fault.
=2. Germany – qualified on four faults
Maurice Tebbel finished on two time-faults with Don Diarado as the middle rider for Germany in the Olympic team showjumping qualifier. He did not jump in the individual Olympic showjumping competition earlier in the week.
“My horse had a really good first round in this arena,” he said. “He tried everything and give me a great feeling. He’s a strong character. He knows what he wants and has a lot of energy. And on the course normally he wants to do everything right, he is really careful and he’s scopey.”
Germany was the third country to keep a clean sheet in terms of jumping faults – Andre Thieme (DSP Chakaria) and Daniel Deusser (Killer Queen) just had a time-fault each.
4. Switzerland – qualified on 10 faults
Martin Fuchs was Switzerland’s first rider and racked up just one time-fault on reigning European champion Clooney 51.
Martin commented: “It felt good – he was a little bit backwards, backing off a lot. I needed to give more leg than usually, that was maybe a little bit because of the hard fault I had in the individual final on the last fence. That’s why I also took a little bit more time than I planned to the spooky wall – I took my time because the four strides after were long and I didn’t really rush for the time. I don’t think the time’s the main test today.”
Martin was followed by Brian Balsiger on Twentytwo Des Biches, who went clear, and Steve Guerdat, who had two down and a time-fault on Venard De Cerisy.
5. USA – qualified on 13 faults
Jessica Springsteen was the USA’s middle rider and finished with one fence down in the final line on Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve.
She said: “I thought my horse jumped beautifully. I was thinking of the time allowed a little bit, but I needed to just regroup before that last line. But I’m thrilled with the way he’s jumping.
“I definitely had a lot more nerves today as opposed to the first day – I want to make everyone at home proud and have a good performance for my teammates. Riding at the Olympics has been a dream ever since I first knew they had equestrian in the Olympics, but it felt so far away for so long – the fact it’s a reality, I’m just trying to take in every minute.
“I think in our sport it’s so much to do with timing, you have to have the right horse at the right time and you both have to be in your peak performance at that moment. Last fall, Don was feeling great and I knew I really wanted to do it 100% and make it a big focus of mine.”
Jessica’s team-mates Laura Kraut (Baloutinue) and McLain Ward (Contagious) each had a fence down, while McLain also added a time-fault.
6. France – qualified on 15 faults
Trailblazer Simon Delestre went clear for France in the Olympic team showjumping qualifier, with just one time-fault on Berlux Z. He was joined in the team by Penelope Leprevost (Vancouver De Lanlore), who had one fence down, and Mathieu Billot, who had nine faults on Quel Filou 13.
8. Brazil – qualified on 25 faults
Marlon Modolo Zanotelli led the Brazilian effort on Edgar M with a clear. Pedro Veniss (Quabri De L Isle) had five faults and Rodrigo Pessoa 20 faults on Carlito’s Way 6. Rodrigo said he will not jump in the team final tomorrow – Yuri Mansur will be brought into the team on Alfons to replace him.
9. The Netherlands – qualified on 26 faults
Marc Houtzager had five faults as the middle Dutch rider, on Dante, while pathfinder Willem Greve (Zypria S) had 13 and anchorman Maikel van der Vleuten – the individual bronze medallist on Wednesday night – clocked eight faults on Beauville Z.
10. Argentina – qualified on 27 faults
Matias Albarracin (Cannavaro 9), jumping for the first time this week, had the best performance with six faults. Fabian Sejanes clocked seven faults on Emir, while Martin Dopzao had 14 penalties on Quintino 9.
The nations who missed out on qualifying were Egypt, China, Morocco, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Mexico, Israel, Japan and Ireland.
View the full results [PDF download]
The 10 qualifying teams will all start on a zero score in the Olympic team showjumping final on Saturday 7 August, which begins at 7pm local time (11am British time).
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