‘They Gambled on Me to Win Money Back’: Top Quotes from Kentucky Final Press Conference

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Today’s show jumping finale proved to be the nail-biting one we all hoped for. Once the dust settled we welcomed a new winner in Oliver Townend aboard Cooley Master Class, followed in second by previous winners Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST, and in third by new USEF CCI4* National Champions Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Read on for the top quotes from our top three on the final day in Kentucky:

Oliver Townend

“It’s obviously a fantastic feeling. I had to do a bit of arm twisting to get the horses here because there was no funding from Great Britain this year, so my owners Angela Hislop and Tom Joule, who own King Joules, they gambled on me to win a bit of money back, and I’m just very pleased with the horses. They’ve come through with great results and I’ve hopefully repaid my owner’s gamble on me.”

“It’s about time! (Oliver Townend will now become #1 in the FEI World Eventing Rankings) I didn’t realize that. I’m fairly clueless about things like that to tell you the truth. I don’t follow the rankings at all. I wouldn’t really understand how the system works, but I’m very happy about that.”

“We’ve had him since he was four years old (Cooley Master Class). He’s always been a favorite at home by all the members of staff and myself. He came right at the end of a period when I had sold an awful lot of good horses, and in terms of Land Vision to Mark Todd, lots and lots of horses to obviously set my life up and buy a property. He came right at the right time in terms of when I sat on him I said, ‘this one were going to one way or another keep.’ I was lucky enough to sell him to Angela Hislop to keep the ride.

“He’s pretty much won at every level all the way through. He’s never really let us down. He’s just had a couple of niggles injury-wise, and at certain stages at his career we’ve often thought, ‘My God is he actually ever going to come through with what we know he can come through with?’ We know how talented he is, we’ve seen him do some very special things at the home competitions, but at certain points in his career it didn’t quite look like he was ever going to come to fruition. In his last two seasons he’s toughened up and we’ve found a way to manage him better and learn more about him. He’s always been cheeky — always been talented, and we’re just very pleased that he’s finally come through.”

Michael Jung

“I’m very happy about fisherRocana. I was a little bit sad more about me because that was absolutely my mistake. I was too far away from this fence, but my mare tried hard. It was still a good round. One down — one down too much, but I’m happy all in all it was a very nice week again in Kentucky. I really like this event. It was really beautiful. I am very happy to be here. It was just a really nice week.

“She’s a very nice horse. She’s very sensitive and very nervous sometimes, but she can very good concentrate and focus on the rider and on the thing what she has to do. She’s very nice to ride for the dressage. She’s not the mover like a dressage horse, but she’s very concentrated and correct. ALso in the jumping and the cross country, she’s not the horse with the best talent, but she’s very good with the brain and she has a very big heart. She tires. She fights. I think for her it’s important that I got her very young, and we’ve grown up together. We learn together and we learn about the good things from each other. And we trust each other, I think that’s the best thing. Otherwise it would not work.

“We had a strong winter, but I had two really good competitions with a hilly place where I can gallop, and I ride there also a bit early, so I can use the gallop tracks twice. It was a very good preparation I think.”

Marilyn Little

“It’s an incredible honor to be up here with riders like Michael and Oliver. I’m very lucky to have an incredible team of people that helped make it all happen. Not just to bring an event horse here, but to be able to compete as well in show jumping and eventing. It’s because of the team around you — it’s because I get to ride two very special horses.

“I actually haven’t had Kitty so long. We did not grow up together. She came into the stable at 8 years old and she is a diva, but she’s notoriously difficult in the stable. She strikes fear into the heart of many people who have to take care of her. But she knows her people. She is very trusting, and she’s a wonderful horse to ride. She has an incredible sense of the moment. She knows when to turn it on. She loves performing for a crowd, so the bigger the crowd the better. She’s a real princess, which was actually a concern early on. We wondered if she was going to be too delicate, too fragile, too careful for eventing, but she’s actually become a very courageous, brave horse and she will give you 150% of everything she has.”