Rebecca Howard and Olympic veteran Riddle Master performed a solid test worth 49.40 pp, with the only bobbles being some loss of rhythm in one of the flying changes and a during a late-test collected canter. She moved into a tie for 41st spot with teammate Kathryn Robinson and Let It Bee, ahead of Canadians Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance (52.0 pp, 50th) and Colleen Loach with Qorry Blue d’Argouges (56.50 pp, 57th).
“I was basically very happy with him,” said Howard, 37, who lives and trains in Marlborough, GBR. “He stayed quite rideable in there and with good relaxation relative to some other tests he’s done. That’s the big key with him ‒ to keep him relaxed and loose. He’s a horse that has a ton of quality in the way that he goes. There were a few moments I felt like I didn’t show him off quite as well; he got a little bit wiggly in the trot work, and in the canter we lost a bit of rhythm in a couple of the changes, but basically he was a good boy.”
The 15-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding is bred and owned by Caroline Bazley and Jean Watson of Blithe Hill Farm. “He’s a special boy,” said Howard fondly. “It’ll be hard to have another one like him, for sure. The breeders still own him and have followed him his whole journey. He was a rogue young horse. As a six, seven-year old he was quite unruly. He was quite opinionated with life and he remains that way, but now I certainly trust a lot of his opinions in some sense and in others I have to keep him in check; ‘Okay, now I’m right here buddy.’ He’s taught me a lot and keeps me thinking. What an athlete; they don’t come any better.”
Howard was looking forward to the cross-country, where her horse really shines. “He’s a fabulous cross-country horse. I’m certainly sitting on one of the best in that game. He’s experienced, and while there is plenty to do, we are looking forward to it and feeling confident.” Rain in the forecast on what is predicted to be a very hot, muggy cross-country day may actually be a welcome factor. “We’ll just be happy. It needs a bit and the rain would be great for the ground, it’ll cool things off,” said Howard.
She also shared what it is like living in the high-energy environment of the Olympic Athletes Village. “It’s such a unique situation to have all these amazing athletes in one place, doing what athletes do. We walk around in track suits and there are random people doing silly things everywhere, jumping around and being fit and bringing things to measure their food and training their bodies ‒ not for any vain reasons, but purely to be excellent at their sport. It’s a great thing to be part of and the vibe in there is pretty special.”
Regarding the current level of team spirit with Canada sitting in 12th place, Howard said, “Everybody is pretty positive. We’ve put in respectable efforts for each of our individual horses. Poor Colleen had a bit of bad luck with the speaker, which is really unfortunate, but she’s doing a fantastic job of just putting that to the back of her mind and just focusing on tomorrow – so that’s a real professional.” Of the 13 teams from 24 countries in eventing at these Games, Canada is the only one with an all-female roster.