2010 Youth Olympics Games - Singapore
Here we are, at the end of the first ever Youth Olympic Games, which was an amazing event and a fantastic outcome after a year's dedicated work. The horses totally stepped up to the mark and all were stars, doing their absolute best for their riders and living up to the faith we had in them.
From the start of the Team Competition, through to the nail biting jump off for Individual gold, an exhilarating week of showjumping was enjoyed by all involved. It was very rewarding - not to mention a real pleasure - watching the horses we had chosen so carefully and dedicated our lives to training, bonding so well with their young riders from all over the world. Several combinations were a match made in heaven right from the start, where others took a little longer to get to know each other. You could see the improvement every day as most horses and riders developed into very capable partnerships. If a rider got into trouble, it was excellent to see the horses' training and braveness come to the fore and help those riders who were not so experienced. It was especially rewarding to witness riders' skills improving as a result of their relationship with their horse. We are hoping that all Youth Olympic equestrian athletes, will go home feeling their horsemanship has advanced after the unique opportunity of riding an unfamiliar horse in a high level competition.
The success of this event wasn't only in feeling great about the riders and horses getting on so well. It was proven by the cold hard facts of the horses jumping 6 courses of solid 1.20jumps, only 2 eliminations out of a total of 141 rounds and 18 horses earning medals for their riders.
The stunning jump offs for medals in both the team and individual events were edge-of-seat stuff and the entire Glen Haven Team were behind the riders (literally! it's a miracle the horses got around with us all on board!) Several beautiful partnerships developed throughout the competitions, including Marcelo Chirico (URU) and Links Hot Gossip, the very worthy recipients of the individual gold, who only had 4 faults for the entire week; Martin Fuchs (SUI) with Midnight Mist and Carian Scudamore (GBR) on Mighty McGyver, who clinched gold for Europe in the Team Competition; gorgeous girls, Samantha McIntosh (RSA) and Little Miss Sunshine, who helped Africa clinch bronze in the Team Competition and just missed out on a medal in the Individual Competition, finishing 4th; Tom McDermott (AUS) and Hugo, who were unlucky in the Individual Competition (finished 8th) but contributed with two beautiful clears for Australasia's silver in the Team Competition; Mario Gamboa (COL) and Titan whose bond improved so much throughout the competition, with a result of two good clears in the Individual Competition and the silver medal; and Dalma Rushdi H Malhas (KSA) and Flash Top Hat who provided a faultless and fast clear in the jump off to clinch individual bronze. As the first ever Saudi Arabian female athlete to compete in an Olympic event, Dalma and poster-boy Flash, were a stunning pair as they scorched around the jump off.
There were many more horse and rider partnerships whose harmony brought joy to our lives, including Guilherme Foroni (BRA) and The Hec Man; Mohamed Abdalla (EGY) and Buzzword; Dominque Shone (CAN) and Roxy Girl; and Jasmine Lai (HKG) and Butterfly Kisses, just to mention a few!
The team here at Glen Haven Park feel very proud to know that the horses we put so much time and effort into, have now helped to write a new chapter in history and partnered these young riders to their own Olympic dreams. Medal or no medal, each rider must have wonderful memories of their time in Singapore, where they were able to bond not only with athletes from other countries, but also with a very special horse from down under, who was their partner for the once in a life time Youth Olympic experience.
We look forward to hearing of the horses progress in their new homes in Singapore, knowing that their talents and skills will now be used to teach Singaporeans the joy of horses. Of course, we also look forward to seeing the young athletes in future, maybe in London 2012 or Rio 2016!
It certainly has been a great ride! We are now looking forward to working on future projects of a similar nature and training more potentially great jumping horses and young riders.