Kathryn Robinson, 30, of Kettering, UK, has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride leading up to these Olympics, to put it mildly, Previously named as the reserve horse/rider combination for eventing with Let It Bee, she was a last-minute replacement for Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High on the team because a veterinary issue. “It was very emotional, I’m not going to lie,” said Robinson. “When I got put as reserve it was really heartbreaking. Actually, more heartbreaking was going out to other competitions and having people say to me ‘I’m so sorry’ and having to concentrate. I was more upset for my horse, because he was on form and felt ready. What will be will be. I felt terrible for Selena. I’ve spoken to her and there are no hard feelings there.”

On a steamy afternoon in Deodoro, the Robinson and Let It Bee were rewarded with 49.40 pp, which is comparable to scores they have been achieving lately including at Aachen, Badminton, and Luhmuhlen, where they placed 9th with no jumping faults cross-country and a double-clear show jumping effort. “I was happy with my preparations for the Olympics and the horse has done everything I’ve asked. Actually, I think this is my best season so far,” said Robinson. “We are going in the right direction.”

Robinson warmed up wisely here, taking into account the unfamiliar climate. “I’m based in England, so my preparation for the actual dressage test was very different from what I normally do. He was a quite a bit dozy and flat because of the heat. I normally work him quite a bit before dressage, but today I didn’t really do much. So I was just going ‘Let’s see how this goes’ which you don’t really want to do at the Olympics but if I cook him I won’t have anything when I go in there. I had to ride with a bit of hope, but I was happy and he did everything I asked.”

Robinson’s observations on the cross-country course echoed those of her teammate Jessica Phoenix. “It’s definitely a tough course with a lot of questions from the very beginning to the very end. It’s going to be a tough day on Monday, but I am looking forward to it. I’ve got all day tomorrow and I think I’ll just keep walking it, and walking it, and walking it, to see if it looks any better!”

Let It Bee has already jumped around a course (in Pogue) designed by Olympic course designer Pierre Michelet. “If I ride sensibly with my head and don’t yank him around too much so I don’t get him too hot in the mouth, hopefully we’ll be fine,” she predicted. “If I get too hooky and worried then he’ll get dead in the mouth and it’ll be a very long course. I’m confident that we will get around.”

She reiterated that there is still a strong sense of fellowship among the Canadian eventers, who like to spend much of their spare time together. “None of us can be bothered to fight, I suppose, or hold grudges,” she concluded. “We just have a job to do and get on with it. We want to represent Canada to our best and that’s what we are going to do. We just enjoy this experience.”