The verdict from the Brits after day one in Rio

Here’s the verdict on day one over a tough, 1.60m track in Rio from the horses’mouths – well the riders, anyway!

Nick Skelton was first of the Brits with Big Star and unluckily had the last fence down in a quick time.

“I think if you’re going to have a jump down then today is the day to do it,” said Nick, “I’m pleased with him. If he jumps two clears in the team competition, which he can do, we’ll be very pleased.”

Ben and Tic Tac were next in the arena and unfortunately hit the midway oxer at nine.

“I thought my horse jumped well, he had plenty of height and used his body well. They said he hesitated on the TV, but I think I overcorrected him and it just took a bit of his jump away, but I got him home down the last line which has been causing some quite dramatic scenes today,” he said.

Michael Whitaker guided the usually spooky Cassionato around the track, and the grey stallion appeared to take the atmospheric stadium in his stride, but although he appeared to sail over fence 10, he touched the pole on the way down for four faults.

Michael said; “He jumped unbelievably. The one fence he couldn’t touch he touched – if you watch it back, he gives it plenty of room but just touches it at the end. Everything else went exactly as it should have done.

“I wasn’t expecting it (today’s course) to be as tough as it was to be honest, I thought it would be a nice 1.50m, but it’s full-blown like a grand prix course actually, so it’s tough.”

Living legend John Whitaker was the final Brit to jump, and he rode exceptionally to provide a clear on Ornellaia. John wasn’t going to touch a fence if he had to jump them himself!

Commenting afterwards he said; “I was very happy with the round, from start to finish it was good. The second to last fence, the double, has been causing problems and I was a bit worried because she hasn’t got that much experience at this level, but everything went to plan – she felt fresh, she was listening, she was jumping, nice to get the first day behind us. It gives us confidence for the rest of the week.”

The results from today’s qualifying round are carried forward into the Individual competition and also decide the starting order of nations in the Team competition. The team event runs over two days (Tuesday and Wednesday), with the team medals decided after the second day, after which the top thirty-five combinations go forward to contest Friday’s Individual final.

Photos © Jumping Around & Shannon Brinkmann courtesy of British Showjumping