Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, unfortunately did not have the opening act to her Olympic debut she had been envisioning. Aboard Qorry Blue d’Argouges, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by fellow Canadian eventer Peter Barry, the 33-year-old from Dunham, QC, was barely into the second movement of her test when sudden, deafening mic feedback filled the stadium. Qorry was startled and understandably broke stride, and while Loach managed to get him back to the job at hand fairly quickly, her marks suffered, with the judges having no choice but to score the movement with a 2,3,and 4 respectively. That, combined with a few over-exuberant changes of lead – and a second inexcusable mic explosion that the horse handled much better – saw them finish with a score of 56.60 pp.
Loach was visibly disappointed in this completely unfair turn of events. “It was really unfortunate. He felt so good coming in, relaxed and really clued in to me and then [that] blew a whole movement. I just told myself to put it behind me and think about the next movements. He was good the rest of the test, but I think he didn’t have quite the presence he may have had without the mishap.”
As well as being Loach’s first Olympics, it is also her first 4* with this horse with which she has been partnered a little over two years. “He had done intermediate when I got him and a few CIC3-stars. I really have a lot of faith in my horse. We are a good team and he’s got scope to spare. I feel confident in our partnership and our ability together.” She commented about the course she will have to face tomorrow, “It think it’s really tough with a lot of questions, but I’m sitting on a great cross-country horse.”
Loach had groomed in London in 2012 for the Canadian Team, so she has had some valuable exposure to the special pressures of Olympic competition. “You get to know the whole team dynamics a bit and how everything works before actually having the pressure of riding, so I think it is helpful. It’s a bit different being here as a rider. I have to say I prefer it; I love competing and riding. I’m super proud and happy to be here.”
And to sum up what happened during her dressage test, Loach said with a good-natured laugh,“A bad word! I’m just really disappointed that it happened, but he was a good boy and it won’t be a dressage competition.”