‘The hype around it is three-fold’: Holly Smith on Tokyo selection and why the Olympics is a different entity *H&H Plus*

  • Tokyo-bound Holly Smith is competing at Bolesworth as one of her final events before she heads to the Games as part of Britain’s showjumping team. H&H caught up with her to have a chat about selection...

    “I’ve been on championship teams before, and I was just sort of treating it as another build-up to another championship. But actually, I think the hype around it is threefold, so that’s been a bit of a shock for me,” said Holly Smith, explaining how the magnitude of Tokyo Olympic selection compares to other championship teams.

    “I’ll just keep doing what I do, train my horse to the best of my ability, put all the effort into my own preparation and just let all that effort take care of the performance.”

    Holly, 32, was speaking at the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show, after her CSI3* 1.45m two-phase grand prix qualifier win aboard the on-form stallion, Fruselli.

    She will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo aboard Ian Dowie’s Denver. The 13-year-old gelding will head into quarantine a week today (Friday, 16 July).

    “I am looking forward to that as we are all in together,” said Holly.

    She added teammate Ben Maher is “always a great help on the training side” and helped her when she was competing her late European medal-winner, Hearts Destiny.

    “[That time in quarantine] just allows us to really knuckle down and focus on that one horse,” she said.

    “As most people know, we often run big yards at home and it’s a circus trying to make it all work, so actually being able to just go in there each day and make time for that one horse, that’s got to be positive.”

    Holly’s selection also marks the first time a woman has been chosen to represent Britain on an Olympic showjumping team in 45 years, since Debbie Johnsey partnered Moxy at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

    “I didn’t realise that [when I was selected] so it’s a great honour and I hope that I do us proud,” she said.

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