Top Quotes from WEG Cross Country Day

Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

That’s a wrap on a glorious day of cross country at the World Equestrian Games. We had some big names stop by our media center including our top three individuals, leading British and Irish riders, and course designer Capt. Mark Phillips. Read on for quotes on what went down:

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Ingrid Klimke (GER) and SAP Hale Bob (1st—23.3)

“First of all I miss my team up here (at the press stage) normally we all sit here together. I had a lovely round and I really enjoyed the course a lot. Bobby was really fit. He cantered up the hill, and got a second breath so I could ride him [for the time]. I was lucky because I was right at the end, so all my team members helped me a lot. Going from Julia who tried the four strides at combination number 14, Andreas had the five, so he suggested five was safer. I must really say we had a wonderful team spirit and they helped me a lot.”

Ros Canter (GBR) and Allstar B (2nd—24.6)

“It’s my first time at a world championship as well, so we’re entering the unknown a little bit, but Allstar B is just the most fantastic horse. We’ve grown up together. I had every faith in him today, and he really delivered for me.

“Today was all about the team as was yesterday, and that’s my number 1 focus. The fact that I’m in medal position is a bonus, and it’s really exciting.”

Piggy French (GBR) and Quarrycrest Echo (8th—27.8)

I was really proud of my horse today. I thought it was one of the first times he had to dig very deep. He’s just performed great this year. He’s definitely stepped up. I was pleased with him, and he was here to show him off. It was harder work than it walked. Felt like a tumble dryer in there, but he really dug very deep, and I was very proud of him with how he finished.

Tom McEwen (GBR) and Toledo de Kerser (10th—28.4)

“We’ve got a very, very special team, and I am very lucky to be on it. We had a plan right off from the start and I don’t think it ever wavered. We had a good plan. We were strong. We knew what we were doing, and everyone seriously delivered.”

Gemma Tattersall (GBR) and Arctic Soul (18th—32.4) 

“Arctic Soul is a complete cross country machine. My job today was to go out and go clear inside the time as the pathfinder, and luckily I managed to set the time today and these guys all followed, so that was brilliant. I was actually 15 seconds down at the bottom of the hill, so it just shows how quick that horse is. I was pulling up from the second to the last at the end as was still 13 seconds inside the time. He’s an amazing horse.”

Dickie Waygood, British Eventing Performance Manager

“Absolutely fantastic. Unbelievable. I think every round for these guys, four clear rounds under the time. They were class acts. I can’t wait to watch the videos back, and see the performances from all of them. They sat beautifully. They rode beautifully, and the horses reacted to them. And the way they came up that hill at the end was super.

“I don’t agree with you at all (That he could relax once three riders were home clear). It’s not over until the lady sings as we know. The old heart rate will still go until the last one is home safely.

“We’ve got a big group of riders. We’ve got width. We’ve got depth, and these guys just proved that this afternoon. We keep reminding each other, not that we need to, that it’s one team, and we spend our lives checking and challenging each other. It’s a fantastic group of riders. Our support team is fantastic. The idea is to put these guys on the podium.”

Capt. Mark Phillips, Cross Country Course Designer

“We had a good day. The vet and the doctor were static all day, and that makes me very happy. Only one or two people tipped off, but that’s part of the thrills and spills of cross country. We managed to keep horses on their feet, which is really important. Doing a World Championship at the three-star level at 10 minutes for the first time, we we’re going into unknown territory. We had a lot of really good four-star horses here and the best riders in the world. It was a difficult one, but I think we saw a lot of people get around that we didn’t think would get around.”

Sally Corscadden, Irish Eventing Senior High Performance Director

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. They did an amazing job. They were so professional. We’ve had a fantastic preparation. We knew they could do it, and they just had to believe in themselves and keep doing what they were doing.

“We just made the adjustment at 10, jumping up the bank at the water because horses were spooking there. We made the plan with Sam (Watson) to try going around, and he could still get the time, so as soon as he did that, that’s the way we were just always going to do it. Otherwise, the riders had their own lines, they knew what they wanted to jump. They had their plans and stuck to their plans of what they want to do.”

Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound aka “Rocket” (3rd—26.3)

“I was on for very late, which can play in your favor or a little bit against it. I made two changes: we all changed (course plan) at the waterfall at 10, and later on at 14. I was always going right, and I thought it didn’t jump right, so I decided to go left. Same as Sam (Watson), and it actually jumped really well. He was super. We flew around. It felt very easy. We were down on the clock at the bottom of the hill, and he went up it like a racehorse. Rocket by name, rocket by nature.”

Padraig McCarthy (IRL) and Mr. Chunky (7th—27.2)

“He’s a very good cross country horse. He’s quite a strong horse, so I knew the course was very open at the beginning and I was a little concerned that we’d be hard to close and make some of those turns afterwards. It didn’t always feel like the smoothest round like Piggy said. It felt like you really had to work hard to make sure that you made everything happen, but he kept jumping. I was down on the clock at the bottom of the hill and I pressed the go button, then because it was quite stressful to get home, and in the end I had to slow down to come into the main stadium.”

Sam Watson (IRL) and Horseware Ardagh Highlight (25th—35.5) 

“I thought all the fences were very jumpable. A lot of options. I think it was a very clever course in that it gave a lot of riders a lot of things to think about. It didn’t have some of the height that we’d seen at Burghley as a four-star before, and I don’t think we’re going to expect that now at this level   maybe it lured a couple of riders into a false sense of security early. These combinations are all testing the same thing, and we’ve been working on this for a year now. Our cross country is our number one thing that we work on. We want to be the number best cross country nation again. I think we showed today that we can do it.”

Cathal Daniels (IRL) and Rioghan Rua (28th—37.6)

“Cross country was a nice track I thought walking it. The mare was unbelievable. She’s small and quick, and everything that he was asking of the horses comes very naturally for her. For my first championship, I was was quite happy. A few time faults, but the hill did take its toll a little bit coming up. I think she finished very strong, so hopefully a good horse for show jumping.”