Andreas Ostholt already knew since Sunday evening what has been announced this morning: he will not compete in Rio. “Soey” (So is et) had lost a horseshoe just before the training camp in Bonn and when he arrived at the camp the Westphalian was slightly lame. However, some hours later under the saddle nothing could be seen. Hans Melzer explained: “We tested the horse on all kinds of ground several times and he was never lame and there was no change when he was ridden. He only was conspicuous when he was not warm.” The coaches didn’t think a change of riders was necessary before the journey to Rio. On site they voiced their concern that there was a residual risk and that therefore Julia Krajewski would step in. “The horse didn’t have an acute injury, therefore it wasn’t necessary to take a successor with us, Melzer said.
Chris Bartle, the discipline trainer then took the decision at an early stage in order to bring some tranquility to the team, Melzer further said. And he supported this decision. “The team is the first premise. It was a tough decision. Andreas is much more experienced than Julia and that’s why we would have liked him to be part of the team. But if there’s another horse that is 100% fit and that’s also able to achieve a good result for the team we just wanted to take the way of the least risk. Of course it is a catastrophe for the ride. The Olympic Games are something special. For him it is hard to understand – which I can understand – and one just can’t be happy about it.”
Meanwhile Andreas Ostholt had tears in his eyes: “I already knew about it since Sunday. I wasn’t here for more than three hours when they told me about their decision. Then I had to lie to all those who travelled with me and also the people at home and tell them that I was well. It was not a good week for me. One feels really lonely.”
The horse, so he explained, was in good form when under the saddle in Rio – everybody could see that. “Therefore I hoped that the team leaders would reconsider their decision,” so the leader of the equestrian sport division at the sport school of the Bundeswehr in Warendorf said. “Of course I support the decision and the team climate is great. The team is not responsible for the decision. I would have liked to actively contribute to the team results but now I will support them from the side as far as possible.”
Andreas Ostholt, who was placed second in Badminton this year classifies the cross country course as typical Michelet course -very challenging, “but my cat would have sped through, Soey would have liked the course.” “I already posted so many photographs of the course on the Internet since I already knew I would just be a tourist here,” he said. “My first dream was Badminton,” so Ostholt, “my second dream now has been destroyed. I don’t know if this dream will ever be fulfilled since I will take on more coaching responsibilities beginning next year.” It was clear that the rider couldn’t fully understand the decision: “One always has to try to see both sides, but one also has to reflect things. If I personally had had the feeling that the horse wasn’t ok then It would have been different, but I think I legitimately thought that the decision could be turned over.”
Julia Krajewski, who now will compete instead of Andreas Ostholt with her horse Samourai du Thot, showed much empathy for her colleague: “I had wished for Andreas to be able to compete. It’s a very difficult situation. It’s tough for him as a person but it’s also not easy for me. But I’m a coach myself and I think that our coaches take good decisions. When we were told the decision first had to swallow a few times, I did not wish to compete and was content to be reserve rider for three weeks and I also looked forward to it.” At the same time the championship debutante also is happy about her chance: “I had to take deep breath but tomorrow I have to draw a line and hope that I will not only tag along with the team.”
Over the last few days Krajewski has talked a lot to Ingrid Klimke, who is happy about her role as fourth rider, but who also nows that this is not a free ticket. “Who knows if my performance isn’t important in the end.” The experienced rider thinks the course is very challenging, a course at four-star level that reminds her of Sydney. “The course demands great stamina, its uphill-downhill and one has to calculate where one can save time. One probably shouldn’t overdo it at the first hill. And there are many things that have to be ridden on a line, very exacting,” so Klimke said. And then she is concerned about a frog in the last water. “It’s really tedious. “It just shows up after 9 minutes and seems to be superfluous. He has the potential to become a real cliff, it’s green and therefore doesn’t contrast with the water.”
Michael Jung, current team and individual Olympic champion thinks the cross country course is extremely difficult: “There will be surprises in the cross country. It will be very exhausting and it is a tough course. However, the fences look great and the ground is great. I’ll just try to take it easy, relaxed. But I also know that a lot can happen. I have a good feeling because I ride the same horse at the second Olympic Games and I’m looking forward to it. Sam is in great form.”
Sandra Auffarth doesn’t take it too easy: “The course has some challenging tasks where you really have to concentrate. At the beginning there are two corners, which are built really cheeky and in the end there’s a table to a gate; the line there is not very good. But Wolle is experienced and I think we will make it.”
The start times now also are clear. First German rider tomorrow is Sandra Auffarth at 11:20 (16:20 in Germany), then Michael Jung follows at 14:58 (19:58). On Sunday Julia Krajewski is the third German rider to start at 11:44 (16:44), and Ingrid Klimke is the last rider at 15:22 (20:22).
Photos: Stefan Lafrentz