Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, and Qorry Blue d’Argouges (sired by Mr. Blue) breezed across the finish line during a challenging cross-country phase of eventing competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, held Aug. 1, 2021.

The Sea Forest Cross-Country Course was the brainchild of renowned Olympic course designer, Derek di Grazia of the United States. Built from scratch over five years on a man-made island, it featured a 4,420 metre track with 23 obstacles, 36 total jumping efforts and lots of straightaways where combinations could make up any lost time with a good gallop. The course strongly favoured those who chose the direct route to meet the allowed time of 7:45 minutes.

Loach, 38, and Qorry Blue d’Argouges were sitting in 42nd place on 36.50 penalty points after the conclusion of the dressage phase on July 31. Peter Barry’s 17-year-old Selle Français gelding cruised clear around the cross-country course with an unwavering, consistent pace, incurring just 7.20 penalties for time.

“He’s so good, you just point and shoot,” said Loach of Qorry Blue d’Argouges’s approach to the obstacles, which included three water combinations, three maximum size jumps of 1.20 metres high with a 1.80 metre spread and two 1.80 metre drops. “He was perfect, he didn’t have a bad fence, honestly. The finish was full of run. I kept thinking I missed the loop out there because it was going so well and so quickly.”

The pair’s score after cross-country was 42.80 penalties, bumping Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argouges 16 spots up to 26th place heading into show jumping on August 2.

Looking forward to the final phase, after which individual and team medals will be presented, Loach commented, “My horse is a good show jumper so I’m hopeful for a good round!”