The finalist who fought back from injury
What kind of a day are you expecting tomorrow when you and the other three finalists will ride each other's horses?
It will be an exciting day for sure. Three medals will be decided tomorrow and there are four great horses and riders in the competition so there will be some great sport.
Remembering Aachen in 2006, what do you think is the most important aspect of the final and how do you cope with riding other people’s horses?
You have to stay level-headed and hope that the horses do as well. A lot of the excitement is that they stay in the ring and they have to be able to handle that. Some of the horses get a little excited because of it. As a rider, you have to take all that into consideration, plus there are a lot of other factors, such as fatigue, and with the horses jumping the same course four times sometimes they can get a little bored.
You had to go clear in the final qualifying round or the competition would have been over for you. How tense was that?
The pressure was huge, but I knew that if I didn’t get in my teammate McLain [Ward] would. It was actually a little disappointing that he didn’t get into the final four after his double clear today. He only just missed out.
With Patrice [Delaveau] in the final, the crowd is going to be at fever pitch. What is that going to be like for you?
It’s going to be pretty loud in there, but the crowd is fantastic and they cheer for good sport as well as the home team so they appreciate everything, I’m looking forward to it.
Did you think that you would recover from your broken collarbone in time to compete at WEG?
It was kind of lucky when it happened — it was in May — and the two horses I had shortlisted, Simon and Cortes C, both have so much experience that they didn’t need to jump all summer to get ready for Normandy. All I had to do was prepare for Hickstead and Dublin as they were pretty mandatory observational shows to make the squad. By then I wanted them jumping at that level successfully anyway so that they could peak in time to come here.
What we did was work back from this date and work out the deadline by which I had to start competing again. I obviously wanted to ride at least a week before that and I tried to plan my recovery up to that point. I had lots of physical therapy and good doctors.
Tell us about Cortes C
He’s such a sweet horse in the barn. I’m sure he wants to be a puppy dog in his next life because he loves to rest his head on your shoulder. He’s such a lovely boy. He came from the Belgian rider Gregory Wathelet.
How did it feel to become the first woman in history to win the prestigious King George Cup V Gold Cup at Hickstead?
It felt great, especially as it was my first big show back and Cortes’s first big show back too. Obviously I needed him and Simon to peak straight away when they returned to work. It was a huge relief and really exciting for Cortes that he came out that good and managed to win.
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