Tales from Rio: Why it was ‘wee wee’ rather than ‘oui oui’ for the French yesterday

  • Sometimes when you have to go, you have to go. And that was the case for Rio Olympics dressage horse Badinda Altena after the grand prix yesterday — as she was leaving the arena, she had to let the flood go, on the biggest stage she’ll probably ever perform on.

    “It’s the first time she’s done that, it was a bit embarrassing,” admits her French rider Pierre Volla. “It’s quite funny. And she was able to do a personal best score despite needing to go!”

    Pierre Volla France dressage rider

    Badinda Altena can’t hold the flood back any longer as she leaves the Olympic dressage arena in Rio

    The pair scored 71.5% and made it through to today’s special.

    “We’ve been training on the grand prix more than normal,” said Pierre. “She’s a very special horse to ride and you have to really work on control because she is full of energy.”

    Today’s test did not go so well for Pierre and Badinda Altena, a 10-year-old by Tolando, and they scored 65.742%.

    “It started well at first, but I’m disappointed by what I did,” he says, referring particularly to some issues in the piaffe.

    Continued below…

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    Pierre makes his Olympic debut here in Brazil.

    “It’s a magical thing to be part of the Olympic team, the dream of every athlete,” he says. “To represent your nation at this level is special.”

    Pierre was a showjumper until 2008, before becoming interested in dressage — his wife Perrine’s chosen discipline. He made his championship debut with Badinda at the European Championships in Aachen, Germany, last year, finishing 18th in the special.

    Badinda’s sire Tolando was competed by the Dutch 2010 world champion Edward Gal before being sold to Canada and gelded in 2013.

    Full 20-page report on the dressage from Rio in H&H next week, out Thursday 18 August, including full analysis of how the medals were won and comment from Richard Davison and Peter Storr.

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