‘You had to ride to survive’

There were just 37 clear rounds today during the WEG cross-country phase at Le Pin National Stud — and no one made the time. Riders’s first impressions were right, that Pierre Michelet’s track taxed even the best… 

'You had to ride to survive'
© CO Normandie 2014/PSV

WILLIAM FOX-PITT: “Watching this morning did not make good viewing. Every line and stride pattern we thought would work just didn’t so I went out and rode what I had.”

NICOLA WILSON: “I feel very emotional. I have been trying hard to control myself as I’m so incredibly proud of Annie Clover. Mum bought her as a four-year-old and to get her to this level and here is amazing. She has never seen anything like this I said to her this is how it's going to be for 11 minutes Annie you have to dig deep and she did just that. She was so straight and on her line and she seemed to have it all sussed out before we even got to a question.”

BILL LEVETT: “My advice to the team was throw the watch out of the window, don’t ride too fast and get home. Shannondale Titan was really genuine and he tried the whole way for me even when he was tired. The ground was just so holding.”

MARIA PINEDO: “The ground took a lot of strength from the horses. I took some options for my team to be safe but I am so pleased with my horse. This was my first four-star. I bought Windsor as a six-year-old from the Elite Eventers auction in Germany and we have learnt together.”

GIOVANNI UGOLOTTI: “Stilo Kontika was great out there. He was foot perfect. I didn’t rush as I prefer a fresh horse for the morning. The feedback was coming through the warm up that there were problems and tired horses.”

AOIFE CLARK: “There was a lot of pressure being the last to go for the Irish but Fenyas Elegance pulled put all of the stops for me. She took her customary strides out everywhere but she did it in spectacular style. Sometimes I wonder why I bother walking the strides for her! She settled into a nice rhythm and was strong but incredibly balanced so I didn’t need to set her up.”

“It was a tactical move to take the long way at the fourth fence and the last water — to settle her and to play safe for the team.”

TINA COOK: “I’m really proud of De Novo News. I rode each fence as I saw lots getting caught out this morning. I watched the first 12 or so and then went out to see the ground. He’s not that fast but he’s a monotonous galloper. He proved that at Badminton and I just had to make sure that I had enough horse for the final water.

“The ground stayed quite consistent. I didn’t change my plans after re-walking it. My horse is quite a character and he just keeps going for me. He’s very intelligent and I’m excited about him. I bred him out of a mare I rode around Burghley — she was actually pregnant with him at that event.”

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