The equestrians of Team GB have been riding up a storm in Tokyo with medals in both the team and individual dressage events.
As part of the Olympics Special edition earlier this year, British Horse caught up with previous Olympic medallists to find out just how it felt to make it onto that podium. *
Tina Cook (Individual bronze - Beijing 2008, Team bronze - Beijing 2008, Team silver - London 2012)
“That moment of receiving a medal is so special because the build up to an Olympics is stressful: you are avoiding injury to yourself and your horse, but you can’t stop eventing because you have to keep the business running. Everything has to go your way, both in the lead-up and then at the Olympics itself. To come out with a medal - well, you have to really enjoy that moment because you know it may never happen again. Then, when you get home, you want that feeling again.”
William Fox-Pitt (Team Silver - Athens 2004, Team bronze - Beijing 2008, Team Silver - London 2012)
“My silver medal in London was one of my top career highlights. It was a monumental experience being part of that whole Olympic movement in London - you felt like you were riding for and championing your whole nation, and you had all this British support behind you. The whole feeling of that medal was very special. We were competing quite early on, so we had a lot of eyes on us and got plenty of publicity for achieving what was actually not our dream. We were only four marks off gold and none of us really performed to our peaks. It could so easily have been gold. All the same, it was a medal I won’t forget.”
Nick Skelton (Team gold - London 2012, Individual gold - Rio 2016)
Nick Skelton’s individual gold in Rio made the front pages: at the age of 58, he was the second oldest Briton in history to win Olympic gold. Nick’s medal, won at his seventh Olympic Games, was Britain’s first individual show jumping medal since Anne Moore’s silver in 1972.
“Winning the gold in Rio was my special moment. Having Big Star to do it with - my horse of a lifetime - was incredible. I was so emotional on the podium because I was so happy and it was unbelievable. I really knew this horse could win it. I knew if I kept my cool this horse would do it… and he did.”
*This is a shortened version of the feature that appeared in the June 2021 issue of British Horse. British Horse is sent to all BHS members and is packed full of useful advice, entertaining features, exciting competitions and the latest news and information from the BHS. To get your copy, become a BHS member.