Carlow man Sam Watson got the Irish Eventing Team off to a positive start in Dressage, scoring a 34.3.
This leaves the pair in 14th position after session one, with two more sessions to follow.
The eye-catching Irish Sport Horse gelding, Tullabeg Flamenco (ISH), was composed and relaxed throughout the entire test.
A small error in the flying changes towards the end of the test cost them a few marks but the pair are looking forward to the next two phases, cross country and show jumping.
“I was pleased with the horse and I think the foundations were there,” stated Watson afterwards.
“The softness, suppleness, and relaxation were all there. I possibly didn’t give him enough punch and enough X-Factor for what they are looking for at the Olympic Games. It was a little safe and then I made a small mistake, which was on me, I shouldn’t be missing changes at the Olympic Games. I am pretty happy with the horse; I am a little disappointed with the mark and there are a few things that I could have done better.
“I am looking forward to Cross Country. It is a rider’s course because he has given us a lot of choices. You have got to make decisions on the course and commit to your lines and stay focused and concentrating. I like that. I like to be thinking when I am on a course.”
Similar to Irish Dressage Rider, Heike Holstein, the Irish Eventing athletes are wearing a yellow ribbon for young local girl Tiggy Hancock who tragically passed away last month. Watson was close to Tiggy and he is wearing the token of respect with pride.
“She was someone I was lucky enough to train with and I think she was someone that could have been at the Olympics one day. To remember her is special and very important to us.”
The action continues in the second session later today with Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue taking to the stage.