So today is the day for the team final, and Colombia is in it! Quite honestly, I think we have great riders here – I have never had any doubt about that. I think we are a little underrated when it actually comes to the talent we have on the team. Dayro Arroyave lives in Belgium and has been doing the young horse cycle for years, and is in my opinion one of the most talented riders in the world. Then we have Roberto Teran who also is a fantastic rider, and is based in North America. We also have Carlos Lopez who is a rider that has been on a high level for many years, and who also is extremely talented. I also have faith in myself, you have to at this level.
On paper we looked quite all right, but from there to go into the top ten that was for sure something very memorable for Colombians and something historic in our sport. There were 35 teams to begin with, and Colombia has not even really had a four person team at the Games before let alone making it past the second day. So for us to end up among the top ten teams was quite surreal, and I don’t think any of us could really believe it – especially with the countries behind us such as Great Britain, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain. I mean what is Colombia in the horse world? We have very few riders, no breeding, few sponsors – so if you look at this it is quite incredible.
I hope this will inspire up and coming riders to work hard, and join us at this level. Then of course you always hope for support, not really for myself as I have a nice group of horse owners and corporate sponsors – but for a rider like Dayro it would be great with some attention around the fantastic rider that he is. Now, we have to wait and see if it actually gives us a boost because this really is a big deal.
We started our preparations for the World Equestrian Games last year by naming Marcel Delestre as our Chef d’Equipe. In Barcelona last year we had no Chef d’Equipe, so we realized that it was absolutely necessary. We have been working with him since then. Our last show all together was the Stephex Masters, and we had four Colombian wins there so that was a great experience for us as a team. I think we had a good preparation coming here, although we did not do any Nations Cup together.
This time it feels like we are Colombia, and not just Colombians in every part of the world – the atmosphere on the team is great.
For my own personal preparations I went back to train with Eric Lamaze, already in May. We have a great partnership that goes back to before the Olympics in 2012, and I asked if I could come back to train with him. I love the way Eric trains, and I love the energy he gives. It feels fantastic to be under his wings.
My horse Sancha’s number one quality is that she is 100 % reliable. No matter what she will do something good. I think it is important coming to a championship like this that your horse can be trusted, that it will not stop or dump you or something like this. This week we have seen a lot of things like that happen – knock on wood this is something that normally not would happen with Sancha. We know each other well, but at the same time we always try to develop together to get to the highest level. I will always think that she is one of the best horses in the world, but my inexperience at the highest level has not always allowed her to be on the top of the game – but she has it all. She is scopey, careful and fast.
My hopes for today, is to jump a clear round. Yesterday it was nut crack – I had a flawless round until the last fence and hit it so I would like to be clear today. For me, for the mare and obviously for the team. And to make it into the top thirty on Saturday would be ideal, I would love to do that!
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