September 28, 2021

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Sumo scare? Riders say horses may well be spooked by statue

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KAMIYOGA, Japan (AP) — Equestrian jumpers are not eager on surprises. Neither are the horses, and it normally takes many years of teaching to continue to keep them from obtaining spooked.

Of program, no horse in Tuesday night’s Olympic leaping qualifier had at any time noticed anything like impediment No. 10.

“As you come all around, you see a large guy’s (butt),” British rider Harry Charles mentioned.

“There’s a ton to glance at,” Ireland’s Cian O’Connor included.

“It is quite realistic,” echoed Israel’s Teddy Vlock.

Riders say a everyday living-measurement sumo wrestler positioned following to the 10th obstacle on the 14-bounce Olympic training course may perhaps have distracted a number of horses in qualifying for the particular person jumping ultimate Tuesday night time. A number of pairings pulled up limited of the barrier, accumulating more than enough penalty factors to reduce entry into Wednesday’s finals.

The statue is positioned to the left of a leap placed in the corner of the arena. Hunched in excess of and seemingly ready to attack, the wrestler is dealing with away from approaching riders, meaning that when they entire a sharp transform to choose on the bounce, the to start with detail horse and human see is the wedgie designed by the wrestler’s mawashi.

“I did notice four or five horses definitely having a spook to that,” Charles stated.

Most of the course’s hurdles are decorated with a distinctly Japanese come to feel — geisha kimonos, a miniature Japanese palace, taiko drums.

None caught the eye pretty like the sumo wrestler.

Between the horses alarmed by the set up was France’s Penelope Leprevost — a workforce jumping gold medalist in 2016. She was not absolutely sure if the wrestler specifically threw off her 12-calendar year-previous stallion, Vancouver de Lanlore.

“Maybe,” she explained. “We tried using to unwind our horses in the turn, and maybe they’re astonished to see a vertical so shut. I do not know.”

Vlock went 34th in the 73-horse area. Immediately after seeing other people have problems, he and trainer Darragh Kenny of Ireland — also a competitor in Tuesday’s area — built a point of trotting their horses to the 10th soar before commencing their operates so the animals could glance it about.

The hope was that familiarity would breed bravery.

“It is incredibly sensible,” Vlock stated. “It does seem like a man or woman, and that is a minimal spooky. You know, horses really don’t want to see a person, like, hunting intensive following to a bounce, seeking like he’s ready to combat you.”

Vlock and Kenny both of those cleared the impediment without the need of situation. Kenny completed next with no penalty factors and a time of 82.01, when Vlock fell brief because of to other difficulties.

Of class, it is difficult to know what’s in a horse’s head. Some riders chalked up the difficulties to how close the bounce was positioned to the switch. Some others blamed the stadium’s bright lights that also led to worry at leap No. 1.

Medal hopefuls Scott Brash of Britain and Martin Fuchs of Switzerland considered cherry blossoms positioned on the other side of the leap were the far more probable perpetrator.

Whichever the result in, it’s not shocking to Olympic veterans that there is drama all-around the park. The Game titles have a name amid riders for flashy course design and style, such as an oddly shaped jump at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 that triggered very similar consternation.

“To be sincere, you count on it in the Olympic Online games,” Brash mentioned.

And which is Alright with them.

“You know it’s heading to be colorful coming listed here,” he extra. “You know it is likely to be attractive. And it is lovely, you know? It is great. That is what would make it a championship. If it was just plain outdated jumps, it’d be just like any other 7 days.”

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Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner

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Additional AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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