Winning is accomplished together, but when there is a loss it falls mostly on the rider. Jur Vrieling refers to yesterday as the darkest day of his career. “Painful” was the term he used about his exclusion in the opening section of the Olympic Games. “I’ve worked towards the Games for years. Especially the last two years I have focused with Zirocco on it. This was unexpected. He was so relaxed as he jumped in the warm-up ring. Once in the competition arena suddenly the tension was there and at the triple combination Zirocco froze. This is so depressing.
The individual championship is sadly over for Jur and Zirocco. But they will get a second chance Tuesday in the first round of the Nations to help the team’s result. Together with Rob Ehrens they need to get things back on track. The coach said about the refusal, “We had Zirocco jumping really relaxed in the warm-up and then this happened. For that distance coming into the triple combination, Jur was a little too tight with his hands and Zirocco took offense. Zirocco is the epitome of a quality stallion that is sharp and careful. Now we need to regain his confidence.”
Whether they will succeed, Ehrens doesn’t know, but “I have faith in this horse. All we can do is get back to work with him. We will not school too high, but will make it easy for him. We have to stay calm and not panic. That never works with an animal.”